Foto: Gemeente Hoeilaart

Male swan kills its female partner in Flemish Brabant park

There were horrific scenes last weekend in the Jan van Ruusbroec Park in the sleepy Flemish Brabant village of Hoeilaart. A male swan known as “Petoetje” killed a female swan called “Petatje that had been brought to Hoeilaart from Bruges (West Flanders) to keep him company just two weeks earlier. Petoetje had spent the past two years without the company of other swans on the park’s pond.  Petatje joined him two weeks ago, at the weekend he drowned her.


What should have been a great romance ended in tragedy on Sunday when Petoetje drown Petatje on the pond.

Eyewitness Beatrice Danau saw it all happen “I was doing something at home when I heard animals making a noise on the pond”.

Ms Danau and her husband both live in a flat that overlooks the pond. She watched on in horror as the tragedy unfolded.  

"I saw Petoetje sitting on top of Petatje in the middle of the pond. With his beak he kept pushing her head under the water until she had drowned. It took at least quarter of an hour. It was terrible to watch. A fisherman also saw it happen, but was unable to do anything”.

"During the past two weeks Petoetje and Petatje never quarrelled. Petoetje is really a very tame swan. I can feed him without any problem. After he had killed her, he pushed her body onto the pond bank. Very strange”.   

The Alderman responsible for animal welfare in Hoeilaart Joris Pijpen (liberal) told the VRT that he has no reason to believe that Petatje’s death was the result of foul play on the part of humans. He added that Petoetje had never been aggressive towards humans.   

Hoeilaart Council has no plans to get a new swan to replace Patatje.

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