Photo by Christian Casale
The city of Orlando introduced two new black-necked swans to Lake Eola on Thursday, with hopes that one of them will mate with the lake's lone current black-necked swan, a female named Queenie.
Mayor Buddy Dyer and District 4 Commissioner Patty Sheehan introduced the new swans, who have yet to be named, to the public.
"We'll be following along with Queenie as she goes through her swan-elorette," joked Dyer.
The idea to find Queenie a new mate came from District 4 resident Shawn Pennington, who said that his idea of getting involved in local government was inspired by the NBC sitcom Parks and Recreation.
"I decided that I really needed to find someone who would share my belief that it's worth taking a risk to make something good happen," Pennington said at the unveiling.
Pennington, who said he and his wife decided to move to Orlando after visiting Lake Eola Park, visits the park often. When he noticed that Queenie seemed to be all alone, Pennington made some calls to his local representatives. Eventually, he was put in touch with Commissioner Sheehan and the two worked together to find Queenie a new mate.
Swans often form lifelong monogamous relationships with members of their own sub-species. Queenie's mate died five years ago after he ate popcorn that then blocked his esophagus.
"I'm always telling people 'Don't feed them bread, don't feed them popcorn, please feed them lettuce!" urged Sheehan.
The pair of male swans cost $5,500 to buy and ship to the city. Livingston and Sheehan each donated $1,500, and the rest was donated from the Commissioner's discretionary budget.
The swans were released into a small enclosure near the Eola House, where they'll wait for about a month while they get acclimated to their new environment and to the other swans.
"Hopefully Queenie has enough cougar in her to take one of these young fellows under her wing," joked Pennington.
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