An amazing story of love and fidelity has taken place in southern Russia, where a male widower swan has unexpectedly managed to hatch baby swans after his partner was killed by a stray dog.
If Black Prince and Swan Princess were humans, people would have said that they were a perfect couple.
The pair of Australian black swans were brought to a resort in the southern Russian city of Sochi four years ago, and have become the local lake’s major living attraction.
People say that Swan Princess, who was named after one of Pushkin’s famous fairytale characters for her beauty and gracefulness, and her loyal partner always stayed together and took affectionate care of each other. Together they had four herds of baby swans.
But this bird fairytale was torn apart by a stray dog, who sneaked into the birds’ cage and bit to death the female swan, who was trying to protect her nearly hatched eggs.
The employees of the resort were desperate, and at a loss as to how to deal with the mother-less eggs.
“We were in panic,” the resort’s manager was quoted as saying by Russia’s Channel One TV. “We didn’t know what to do. We felt like hatching the eggs ourselves!”
But it appeared there was no need for such extreme measures. The male swan stunned both visitors and employees, taking full control of the situation.
In defiance of his natural role, he hatched the eggs himself and is now affectionately bringing up the five baby swans.
Ornithologists say black swan males sometimes hatch eggs while their partners are resting. But females do not entrust the eggs to them for long periods of time, as males are considered bad hatchers. They usually forget to roll the eggs regularly, or otherwise hatch them incorrectly.
Unlike those negligent fathers, Black Prince has managed to bring out healthy nestlings and is now teaching his five babies to swim.