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Dispatches Quick Takes

Chris O’Meara/AP

A swan eludes capture during the 40th annual swan roundup in Lakeland, Fla. The roundup allows the city to monitor the health of the swan population. (Chris O’Meara/AP)

Quick Takes

Swans for sale

A charitable act by Queen Elizabeth II has proven to be the gift that keeps on giving too much for one Florida city. By 1953, Lakeland, Fla., had lost every one of its beloved swans to dog and alligator attacks. A Lakeland woman living in the United Kingdom at the time wrote to Elizabeth and asked if she could supply replacement swans. Since the 12th century, the English monarch “retains the right to claim ownership of any unmarked mute swan swimming in open waters,” according to the royal family’s website. So, the queen donated a breeding pair. More than 60 years later, the progeny of those donated swans have overwhelmed city officials. Lakeland officials say they plan to sell 36 of the swans for $400 apiece to help pay for the care and feeding of the remaining population. The city previously sold swans in 2014 and 2011.

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