While visiting the U.K.’s Abbotsbury Swannery a few years back, Richard Wiese, host of the television show “Born to Explore,” ran into an injured swan who displayed not only gratitude, but trust, in one remarkably beautiful moment.
Wiese visited the swan sanctuary with members of other swan rescue organizations to assist with rehabilitation efforts. The swan that Wiese came to pick up had been injured after flying into a chain-link fence. Wiese was trying to make the swan feel comfortable enough for transport and he managed to exceed expectations.
“When I put it next to me I could feel its heart beating and it just relaxed its neck and wrapped it around mine,” Wiese said. “It’s a wonderful moment when an animal totally trusts you.”
What makes this moment especially rare is the fact that swans aren’t typically affectionate animals. They’re territorial creatures who will defend themselves should a human come near a nest, for example. Furthermore, Wiese said, while swans are beautiful animals, “they can be vicious” around people.
Yet this particular swan didn’t recoil or attack out of fear when handled by Wiese. Instead, the swan realized that he was perfectly safe in his rescuer’s arms and felt more than content enough to provide Wiese with an unforgettable hug.
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