By early February of this year, the only black swan in New Orleans’ City Park had spent several weeks tending to her nest in the park’s Sculpture Garden, waiting for her brood to hatch. But then an unknown human attacker smashed all six of her eggs and badly injured her leg in a senseless assault. A few days later, a park police officer discovered the normally graceful bird, a favorite among City Park visitors, weak and unable to walk due to an infected ankle wound with protruding bones.
Veterinarians quickly performed surgery on the swan’s leg, and the public immediately responded with an outpouring of get-well wishes and financial contributions for her care. Thanks to this support from the public and a team of specialized veterinarians, the swan, dubbed “Amanda Erika” by her fans, has spent the last 10 months recovering under close veterinary supervision and undergoing therapy and rehabilitation to prepare her for her release back into the wild.
While many swans are aggressive and territorial, Amanda reportedly has a sweet and passive personality, making it a pleasure for her caretakers to tend to her. Although some of her injuries appear to be permanent and she continues to walk with a limp, Amanda has finally grown strong enough to swim and walk on her own. On November 20, she was taken to her new home at a private pond north of Lake Pontchartrain.
“We’ll miss her at the park, but are so thankful she’s doing better,” says John Hopper, City Park’s chief development officer and public affairs director. “Amanda Erika could go on to live another 20 to 25 years.”
Danielle Taylor is the Senior Editor of Parks & Recreation Magazine.