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Highland wildlife enthusiast Joe Telfer, who created a wildlife sanctuary in a local river estuary, dies suddenly

By Donald Wilson

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Joe Telfer.
Joe Telfer.

A man who created a wildlife sanctuary in the local river estuary has died suddenly.

Joe Telfer passed away on Saturday morning while in his favourite spot, beside the Merryton Bridge, feeding the ducks and swans that meant so much to him.

Mr Telfer published a regular online blog detailing events at the sanctuary.

Families of swans made their homes in the area, producing regular broods of cygnets which were a source of real delight to both locals and visitors to the town.

Known widely as Nairn’s “Swan Man”, Mr Telfer was a regular sight on riverside walks as he devoted so much of his own time tending to the welfare of the local river bird population.

In his own words: “We are custodians of the planet and we have a duty of care for it.”

In his blog Joe wrote: “For the past 18 years I’ve had the privilege of watching and caring for the resident swans on our local river estuary.

“I have been charmed and fascinated by their parental skills and beauty in the water, they are Simply Superb Swans.”

Mr Telfer’s blog can still be read and enjoyed here

He had posted just last Friday, sharing pictures of swans enjoying a feast of his own grass cuttings.

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “Police received reports of a 77-year-old man having taken unwell at The Moorings on Harbour Street in Nairn around 11.30am on Saturday, 3 September, 2022.

“Emergency services attended, however the man was pronounced dead at the scene."

“The death is not being treated as suspicious and a report will be submitted to the Procurator Fiscal.”

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