Three teenagers have been arrested in the northern United States after allegedly killing and eating a swan that they thought was a duck, police said.
The pen — called Faye — was killed over the weekend at a pond in Manlius, a suburb of Syracuse in upstate New York, the local police department said in a statement.
The suspects stole her four cygnets and intended to keep them as pets, Sergeant Kenneth Hatter of Manlius police told reporters.
The baby swans were later recovered alive from a nearby shop, where one of the suspects worked, and a private residence.
Faye, however, was less fortunate.
“The family and friends did consume the adult swan. They believed it was just a very large duck,” Hatter told a press conference Tuesday.
“They did not know it was not a wild animal, that it was actually property of the village of Manlius,” he added.
The suspects — aged 18, 17 and 16 — were arrested on charges including criminal mischief, theft and trespassing, Hatter said.
Swans have been a symbol of Manlius, a small town of about 4,600 people, since they were first introduced to its pond in the early 20th century, officials said.
“It’s sad,” mayor Paul Whorrall told local media. “It’s like losing a family member.”