Despite their beauty, wild swans aren’t typically the nicest or most approachable creatures.
“On one hand, everyone says they’re very beautiful animals,” “Born to Explore” television show host, Richard Wiese, told ABCNews.com. “But on the other hand, when people have been around them, they can be vicious. Wild swans can peck the heck out of you.”
But when Wiese was in England last fall visiting the Abbotsbury Swannery, the largest collection of wild swans in the world, he experienced a remarkably touching moment.
“When I put it next to me I could feel its heart beating and it just relaxed its neck and wrapped it around mine,” Wiese explained. “It’s a wonderful moment when an animal totally trusts you.”
The sentimental moment was caught on camera and is now garnering quite a bit of attention online after the photo was posted to their “Born to Explore” Facebook page with the caption, “A mutual understanding. An injured swan in England submits to caring hands.”
“When we post things we usually get around five to 10 comments. But just in the last in the three days, probably 20,000 people have looked at this picture,” he said. “There’s something that’s obviously touched people.”
Wiese was visiting the Swannery, along with members from Regal Swan Foundation and Swan Lifeline, working to rehabilitate the injured birds. This particular swan had been injured from flying into a chain link fence, and Wiese was working to make the animal comfortable enough to transport him.
“Like anything else, you have to be familiar with animals, really clued in to things like when you meet a dog you’ve never met,” said Wiese. “I grabbed it, had one arm over its wings and the other at the base of its neck. I pulled it to my chest and somehow it felt comfortable or safe, and within minutes it just surrendered itself. It literally took its neck and wrapped it around mine.
“I could feel its chest beating against mine. To fully experience it, I felt like I wanted to close my eyes and isolate myself for the moment. It’s a really terrific feeling when you feel that bond and mutual trust with this non-verbally communicating animal, when the animal realizes you intend it no harm.”