70-year old woman has been feeding swans for 10 years after dam threatened habitat

Every day for the last 10 years, 70-year old Irene Hodges has been feeding more than 50 swans at Chasewater pool in Staffordshire, England.

A dam was built in 2009 and pools were drained to improve its country park, however, it resulted to the fishes, tadpoles, mollusks and swans’ lack of source of food – eventually leaving the poor animals starving.

“After the pool was drained to build a dam, they lost many of their feeding reserves and I became really concerned for them. The maintenance works was unavoidable but it almost destroyed the swans’ habitat,” Hodges told Good News Network.

Since then, the retired pharmacy worker spent over $25,000 on bird food to regularly feed and save hundreds of birds. She was even nicknamed the “Swan Lady Chasewater.”

“I knew the fish which they depend on had been taken away and I was worried either that the swans would starve or would fly away,” she said. “I was desperate not to let that happen so I decided to help them stay put by feeding them.”

She added that she had been doing her research on what to feed the birds and when to feed them to keep them healthy.

“They’re there waiting each morning. They know the time I get there which is about 11 am every day. The swans aren’t aggressive towards me. I walk in between them. But if anyone else comes, they flap their wings,” she added.

Hodges, who has two-grown up children and grandchildren, said she has no plans to stop feeding the animals. “I don’t have a week’s holiday. I’m too dedicated. Christmas Day and Boxing Day I’m here through rain or snow,” she added. “We must love and look after our animals.”

This piece originally appeared on Animal Scene.

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