A wildlife photographer has caught the heartwarming moment two reunited swans made a love-heart shape with their necks after two months apart while one recovered in the RSPCA’s care.

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The photo was snapped on Saturday (15 June) by Ian Sheridan, who was watching RSPCA Animal Collection Officer Dave Hollinshead release the male swan (‘cob’) at Doxey Marshes, in Stafford.

Two months earlier, the swan had been rescued by the RSPCA after suffering a foot injury. He was taken to the RSPCA’s Newbrook Animal Hospital, in Birmingham, for urgent surgery, before being transferred to the charity’s Stapeley Grange Wildlife Centre, in Nantwich, Cheshire.

Dave said: “After a successful rehabilitation at Stapeley Grange, I was tasked with returning the swan back to his mate at Doxey Marshes. I spent almost an hour walking around the marshes looking for the female so they could be reunited.

“Almost everyone I spoke to in the area was aware of the initial incident and said lots of people regularly ask about the male and if he was coming back.

“I eventually found the female with the help of various people, one of whom was a wildlife photographer, Ian Sheridan, who photographed the release and their immediate recognition of each other.

“The male swam straight over to the female and went head to head. I am not normally given to slushy sentiment, but the heart shape their heads and necks made was quite beautiful.

“They then swam off side by side – no doubt she gave him a strong telling off later when they were not being watched.”

If you see an animal in distress, please contact the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999. For more information on what to do if you find a potentially injured wild animal, visit our website at: www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/wildlife/injuredanimals

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