Alfie the misunderstood swan recovering after being entangled in fishing line

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Swan - Stock Photo

BRICK TOWNSHIP, NJ – A swan that has been a fixture of the Seawood Harbor section of Brick for years has escaped death row, but now is recouping in the hospital. Alfie the swan is loved by some and hated by many. That’s because some people think he has an attitude.

“AHS/Popcorn Park Animal Refuge has become widely known for our efforts in assisting swans in distress in waterfront towns throughout NJ.  From swans becoming entangled in fishing line to being injured during territory disputes with other swans, we respond to countless calls and provide aide for so many,” Popcorn Park in Ocean County said. “Due to the experience and knowledge needed in handling these birds, many local animal control officers are not equipped to respond to these calls, so whether we are contracted with a town or not, we respond, simply because it is the right thing to do. “

Alfie is a swan that made headlines recently, thanks to residents of the Seawood Harbor section of Brick, NJ that have come to know him as he has paddled through the waters over the years.  Alfie is a generally docile swan but when provoked, has demonstrated protective behavior.  As more people became aware of this side of him, some people would provoke him in order to get a reaction out of him.  Videos have shown jet skiers circling the swan and egging him on, simply to get him, “riled up”.  Someone became concerned over his behavior and contacted wildlife officials who, after reviewing the case, deemed him aggressive and handed down the decision to euthanize him. 

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Neighbors rallied to “Save Our Swan” and contacted several government officials to request that Alfie be permitted to be relocated to our Popcorn Park Animal Refuge, but they were unable to secure the permit needed therefore, Alfie was slated to be euthanized.  That is when Alfie took matters into his own wings.

AHS/Popcorn Park Director, John Bergmann, received a call on Friday, July 9th to go out to this very town in Brick to assist a swan that was entangled in fishing line.  John responded to the call that was not unlike the many calls that he receives for swans in distress, and was able to safely capture the swan and remove the line.  The swan was then brought back to our facility to ensure that he did not sustain any other injuries.  As fate would have it, the swan seems to be the infamous Alfie.  He is resting comfortably at our facility but it would seem, Alfie saved himself!

Although this particular swan has received a great deal of media attention, he is one of so many that we at AHS/Popcorn Park rescue every year.  We do not receive any state or federal funding for these rescue efforts and are only paid by the few towns that we are contracted with for Animal Control services.  Oftentimes a swan may need weeks of rest and medical care at our facility while other times, they can be released immediately.  We rely heavily on our ResQ Fund, which provides emergency medical care for such animals.  Please consider making a donation to our ResQ Fund to support this important work that we do here at

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We are still unclear as to how Alfie’s story will end but for now, he is safe and recovering.  We only hope that people will learn from his story, to simply leave animals alone.  Provoking an animal to get a rise out of them, taunting birds and other animals to get a reaction, is downright cruel and in Alfie’s case, can prove fatal.  Please be kind, be humane, and let them live their lives.  For more information on this story, contact us at 609-693-1900 or

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