The fate of the pike in the Forum pond lies in the hands of the Garden Committee. The fish is the prime suspect in the case of the eight missing cygnets.
© Askhat Zhanibekov
The cygnets were the babies of the pair of swans that have nested at the Forum pond for years. But not one of the eight is still alive. They are assumed to have fallen prey to a roughly 80 centimetre-long pike that lives in the pond. The question is: what now? Should the pike go or should we let nature take its course?
Park manager Elike Wijnheijmer of Facilities and Services wants to put this question to a few WUR experts, including aquatic ecologist John Beijer and the Garden Committee of the Environmental Sciences Group, which manages the natural gardens at Atlas and Lumen. ‘It’s a very sensitive issue. People soon get emotional where animals are concerned,’ says Wijnheijmer. ‘I don’t want to take a position on this too hastily.’
Ecologist John Beijer was at the pond every day in the past few weeks, doing practicals with his students. Besides a large pike, there are young pike, rudd, bitterling and common roach in the pond. ‘For several years, and that is good. Large pike occasionally take a chick but they prefer fish. And there is a good stock of fish now.’
Another possible explanation of the disappearance of the cygnets is that they were stolen. Cygnets have been stolen in Lelystad, it was reported last week. But there is no proof of such a theft on campus, though. The CCTV camera near the nest is focussed on the bridge and the footages is deleted after seven days.