Two black swans have refused to eat for the past four days after five of their eggs were reportedly stolen from a scenic location near Mount Tai, in east China’s Shandong Province.
On February 1, a keeper found that the breeding pair was distressed, stretching their necks, making loud noises and behaving more aggressively towards people, according to Ecns.cn.
Surveillance footage at the scene showed that two tourists, a man and a woman, were taking photographs near the black swans for about half an hour before moving towards the eggs.
Li Yaming, who manages the scenic spot, suspects that the tourists stole the eggs.
According to Li, the unhatched swan eggs are useless to the alleged culprits as they are not edible, can no longer be incubated and could explode in hot temperatures.
Since swans mate for life, they are often considered as a symbol of eternal and faithful love, and are under second class animal protection in China.
Both male and female swans care for up to four to seven eggs and are incubated for approximately 36 days, with a birth rate of about 50%.
Black swans will attack with their wings and beaks to prevent other animals from getting too close to their nests.
A police investigation into the theft of the black swan eggs at the scenic spot is ongoing.
To show that swans are better at staying in a relationship for the rest of their lives than most human couples do, Zhangjiajie held a wedding ceremony for a pair of lovebirds in 2016, according to Shanghaiist.