Attention, all swan lovers.
Officials in Lakeland, Florida, are making plans for a swan sale in the weeks ahead.
The reason for the unusual event?
The city spends $10,000 a year feeding and caring for them. The picturesque birds are also largely overpopulated, which causes quality of life issues for them, according to Lakeland’s website.
“We currently have 80 swans here on Lake Morton to feed and care for, so we are looking to sell around 30 to 40 to ensure proper care for them all,” Bob Donahay, Lakeland’s Director of Parks and Recreation, told CNN.
Donahay says because there are too many swans in one area, they often fight over space in the lake and surrounding areas, and they roam onto streets and into traffic. Two were killed this year by motorists.
Prior to the swan sale, the city will conduct an annual “wellness check” on the entire flock.
“We are fortunate to have veterinarians in town who donate their services to our annual wellness roundups where we check the health of all our swans,” Donahay said.
While the city does not conduct background checks on each buyer, Donahay says they do try to get to know each prospect before selling.
“We will have a great conversation about who they [the buyers] are and what their plans are for the swan or swans. And then we also make ourselves readily available if any of the swans experience medical issues down the road,” Donahay said.
What do the new owners do with the animals? Donahay says everyone who buys a swan has some body of water in or near their homes, where the swans can live comfortably.
Others place their swans in wedding venues, or funeral or nursing homes, Donahay says.
The price is $400, a number Donahay proudly says is below market value.