Florida city evaluates traffic safety after 5 swan deaths

In this file photo, Janis Goostree, an employee of Lakeland Parks & Recreation Dept., holds a swan waiting to be examined and vaccinated for botulism in the city’s annual swan roundup. [Greg Fight | Tribune]

LAKELAND, Fla. — A Florida city is evaluating traffic safety after five of its signature swans were struck and killed by motorists.

In a report by The Ledger, Lakeland Police spokesman Gary Gross said distracted driving appeared to be to blame for the swans’ deaths over the last three weeks.

A sixth swan was injured. About 70 swans live on Lakeland’s Lake Morton.

City officials and nearby residents plan to meet Thursday to discuss ways to slow or reduce traffic along the shoreline. An estimated 4,600 vehicles drive daily around the scenic lake.

The birds are considered city property. It’s a criminal violation to harm them or any bird or wild fowl within city limits.

Most of Lakeland’s swans are descendants of a pair donated to the city by Queen Elizabeth in 1957.

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