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'Arranged marriage' of Zaventem swans comes to an end

Illustration picture shows two swans, surrounded by ducks, on a pond. (BELGA PHOTO KURT DESPLENTER)
05:39 25/11/2021

It appears that the “arranged marriage” between two swans in Zaventem has come to an unhappy end after it was reported that the male had packed his bags and left.

The male swan was brought to the pond in the Mariadal park in Zaventem after the female swan's previous partner was killed by dogs this spring.

"The purchase of the new male cost us €485," said Hamid Akaychouh, the municipality’s councillor for animal welfare. "But the love between him and the female was not strong, and the male has now disappeared.” The male has since been seen at another pond in the area.

"It just didn't match,” the councillor continued. “Swans are very fragile. They are attached to their partner for life. You can't force them, and that's been shown once again. It seemed as if we wanted to make it an arranged marriage but that's not how it works. If it's forced, it won't work."

Akaychouh plans to buy an existing swan couple in the spring. "We hope that they will make the Mariadal park their habitat, but that is not a certainty either. If we put a couple there, there is still a chance that they will fly away."

What will happen to the remaining female, who is already 17 years old, is not yet certain.

Written by Nick Amies