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​Hanoi stops releasing swans into Hoan Kiem Lake amid differing opinions   

Thursday, February 15, 2018, 10:42 GMT+7

The swans were retrieved less than a day after being released into the iconic lake

A pilot project to raise swans so as to adorn the Hoan Kiem Lake in Hanoi has been put on indefinite hold due to conflicting opinions over pollution and the birds’ health.

A group of public workers captured the 12 swans in Hoan Kiem Lake in Hoan Kiem District and released them into Thien Quang Lake less than 2km away in Hai Ba Trung District on the night of February 5.

The retrieval took place just hours after the swans’ release the same day.

Conflicting opinions have led to the displacement, requiring further directives before any action can be taken, a representative of the Hanoi Sewage and Drainage Limited Company, tasked with carrying out the project, said on Tuesday.

Opposition arose chiefly due to the historical association between Hoan Kiem Lake and the respected Cu Rua (The Great Grandfather Turtle), believed to have lived there long before his passing in January 2016.

Cu Rua was the symbol for a mythical turtle playing the pivotal role in Vietnam’s defense against foreign invaders back in the 15th century.

The appearance of the Western swans would thus disregard the upheld spiritual and historical image of Cu Rua, biology professor Ha Dinh Duc said.

Other concerns revolved around the swans’ adaptability to the weather of Hanoi, which is hot and humid during the summer, thus unsuitable for the European birds.

Environmental concern was also prevalent as the swans’ excrement cannot exit the closed system of Hoan Kiem Lake, worsening the already polluted water.

Tran Nhu Giap, director of the Vietnam Bird Garden joint stock company responsible for raising the swans, countered the arguments, saying the 12 swans have been accustomed to the living conditions in Hanoi after two years of upbringing.

Giap also said that the fish population in Hoan Kiem Lake would feed off the excrement, keeping the water from being over-contaminated.

The Hanoi Department of Culture and Sports, however, said they were completely in the dark about the whole circumstance and refused to add further comment for the time being.

“We were not informed of the release [of the swans], and we did not receive any notice on retrieving them. There could have been directives issued by the higher-level authorities that we have not known of. Therefore, I think it is best to let everything run its course according to the law,” an official from the department said.

The 12 black and white swans released into Hoan Kiem Lake was part of a pilot project aiming at adorning Hoan Kiem Lake and attracting tourists to the iconic.

Giap stated that his company had gifted the six pairs of swans to Hanoi, contrary to the speculation that the expenditure to buy the birds came from the capital’s budget.

TUOI TRE NEWS

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