A swan studies its reflection in Malmö's Pildammsparken. Photo: Jakob Nilsson-Ehle/Flickr
The male swan or 'cob' signed his own death sentence earlier this year, when he attacked a group of children near his nest close to Malmö's police station, causing several of the youngsters to fall into the water.
“I understand that people are upset about this. I'm upset myself. I conserve nature. I don't usually kill things,” Ola Enqvist, a nature conservationist employed by Malmö's local government, told The Local.
“All male swans defend their nests of course. But this swan was particularly angry. He attacked everybody who passed by, and people were afraid.”
One local resident, Martina Andersson, told the Sydsvenskan newspaper that she found the decision “extremely upsetting”.
“They were a real feature of the area,” she said of the swans. “He is only protecting his mate from the canoeists who paddle by, but it doesn't do anyone any harm.”
Enqvist said two hunters had been granted special police permission to use a firearm and had then both shot the swan simultaneously to ensure he was killed instantly. They carried out the shooting late on Sunday night to minimize the risk of passers-by being alarmed.
Enqvist said that to his knowledge the city authorities had never before had to put a swan down.
“This was the first time it's happened, and I hope the last,” he commented.
As for the swan's mate, he said he hoped she would be capable of hatching and nurturing the eight eggs in her nest alone.
“We think and hope that she will be able to bring up the children. She is the one in the nest, not the male, so we hope she will manage to do it herself,” he said.