CHERTSEY, England (Reuters) – An 800-year-old custom of counting the swans owned by Britain’s Queen Elizabeth began on Monday, an annual ceremony of “swan upping” that in fashionable instances has turn out to be a method of wildlife conservation.
The upping sees three groups — one representing the queen and the others the outdated commerce associations of the Vintners and Dyers — patrol the River Thames in south England over 5 days to seize, tag and release any households of swans with younger.
The upping dates again to the 12th century when the English crown first claimed possession of all mute swans, then thought-about a delicacy that will be served at royal banquets.
Britons not eat swans and the birds are protected by regulation.
Last yr’s rely confirmed there have been 132 new cygnets on the Thames, reversing a declining development in earlier uppings.
The queen’s crew of uppers, in purple shirts emblazoned along with her royal brand, have been directed on Monday by a “swan marker” sporting a gold-embroidered ceremonial blazer, David Barber.
“The law states that the queen can own any swan swimming in open waters if she so wishes, but she mainly exercises that right on the River Thames,” Barber mentioned.
“Today swan upping is about conservation and education,” he continued.
Schools have been invited to view the upping at shut quarters, throughout which the birds are ringed with particular person identification numbers for conservation functions.
Reporting by Emily Roe, Writing by Joanna Heywood, modifying by Andy Bruce, William Maclean