Baby swans rescued by local volunteer group

Opinion

One of the reasons so many people flock to buy at Mahala is because of the stunning natural surrounds with mature trees and wildlife attracted to the area.

Mahala is a perfect example of why people choose to live amid the beauty and freedom of natural surroundings while maintaining a great suburban lifestyle with all of the essential amenities at your doorstep.

Just 250 metres from the south of Mahala is Lake Forrestdale, a stunning seasonal lake featuring 220 hectares of native wetlands and a major breeding ground for more than 70 species of Australian water birds as well as some migratory species.

When water levels decrease in summer months, the adult swans fly to other wetlands leaving the cygnets behind and they are too young to fend for themselves.

Formed in 1990 to help manage the Bush Forever sites and conservation areas, local community group Friends of Forrestdale is dedicated to conserving Forrestdale Lake Nature Reserve and adjoining reserves which are home to thousands of birds, bandicoots, frogs an other wildlife.

Each year, the group organises an annual rescue operation to save the cygnets and relocate them into care until they are ready for release. The most recent rescue operation in January 2022 saw almost 200 volunteers, consisting of local residents and the State Government environmental officers, turn out for the biggest baby swan rescue in history!

Friends of Forrestdale spokesperson David James said the community effort was amazing, resulting in the rescue of 172 cygnets.

“The lake has always been a favoured site for nesting swans, and it was so heartening to see so many local people work together for the benefit of the environment.

“The volunteers supported by government has resulted in the collection of hundreds of cygnets during the past 15 years during the hotter months and our most recent rescue effort was testament to the love that local people and our volunteer group has for the environment.

“Over the years, the operation has been streamlined and rather than mustering the cygnets into holding pens erected on the lake edge—as was the case in initial operations— we now herd them into a cluster out in the lake and catch them with nets.

“After last year’s very wet winter there were more than 170 cygnets on the lake and our recent rescue operation saw us successfully relocate them.”

Wildlife carers were on hand to help keep the cygnets as safe as possible during the capture. The health of all the cygnets will be assessed and those that need time to recuperate will be looked after by wildlife carers and the others released into Lake Joondalup or Lake Mealup.

The group also works hard to ensure fences are maintained, the bush is protected and rubbish collected – as well as ensuring the health and wellbeing of local animals and bird life.

The work undertaken by the Friends of Forrestdale is integral to the areas around Mahala and a large part of the reason that so many people are choosing to build their home in this stunning estate surrounded by nature.

Forrestdale Lake Nature Reserve is not only stunning but is also recognised for its rich heritage value, registered as an Aboriginal site of significance by the Western Australian Museum.  Forrestdale Lake is a declared Ramsar wetland which means it is one of the three wetlands in the Perth region that are considered to have national environmental significance and listed on the Ramsar Convention – this is an international convention that has over 169 contracting bodies signed on.  The Convention’s mission is “the conservation and wise use of all wetlands though local and national actions and international cooperation as a contribution to achieving sustainable development throughout the world.”

Lake Forrestdale is a very popular place for Mahala residents to enjoy – fantastic for picnics and a place to enjoy bushwalking, cycling and simply getting back to nature, as the reserve is less than 5 minutes away.  

There are so many reasons to live at Mahala, with plenty of parks, sports facilities and play areas for the whole family as well as nature playgrounds and several nature reserves nearby include Lake Forrestdale – which also creates a great opportunity for local residents to get involved and be part of the broader support community.

 

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