We are deeply saddened to share the news that Chuck, our male Trumpeter Swan that has lived on Lake Aspen in Sunriver since 2013, was illegally shot on Thanksgiving afternoon, November 23rd, and fatally wounded.
Chuck, together with his mate Gracie and their four cygnets, had been exploring outside of Lake Aspen for the last week. Although they are wild, the swans are also flightless and generally only move among the waterways in Sunriver. The Nature Center staff had been monitoring their location and working to recover the swans to return them to Lake Aspen.
On Thursday afternoon, the Nature Center received reports of an injured swan approximately two miles downriver from Lake Aspen in Sunriver. Staff from the Nature Center were able to retrieve Chuck and transport him to a veterinarian for examination. However, after extensive consultation with experts, it was decided that Chuck’s injuries were beyond repair and that intervention would cause further suffering for the swan. He was humanely euthanized.
Sunriver Nature Center has been in contact with Sunriver Police, Oregon State Police, and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and will assist them in their investigation. Swans are a protected species and it is illegal to hunt them in Oregon. Any person that has information regarding the incident is encouraged to call the Oregon State Police.
Chuck and Gracie were placed at Lake Aspen as part of a breeding program supported by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to reintroduce Trumpeter Swans in the area. Their first successful breeding attempt produced two cygnets in 2016 which were subsequently transferred to Summer Lake Wildlife Area. This year’s cygnets will spend the winter in Sunriver and be transferred to Summer Lake next spring.