ORLANDO, Fla. – Local 6 video captured a Lake Eola signature swan attacking a woman and walking into a bank before being shooed away, and nearby residents say the behavior is a regular occurrence.
VIDEO: Chapita causes havoc
A male whooper swan named Chapita has been causing a ruckus, park police said, including walking across Robinson Street through traffic.
"With a lot of the buildings, they have glass, and in the reflection they see themselves and they think it's another mate, and that's what they're looking for," said Chris Wallace, a Lake Eola park consultant.
Shelia Bolin, a swan expert called the "Swan Whisperer," said she was a consultant for Lake Eola Park for three years but quit last year after she said the city wasn't listening to the needs of the swans anymore.
"In my experience, the city's actions were either nonexistent and very reactive instead of proactive," Bolin said. "We lost swans down here, basically, from lack of critical care facilities, lack of vet medicine pens and proper nesting areas."
When Bolin left, Wallace took over her position and he said the swans are in great care.
"The swans could not be, in my opinion, in better care," said Wallace.
The idea of a fence has been tossed around for years, but the expense and the opposition to closing the park in has kept it out of bounds. The city is reportedly revisiting the idea.
"We are trying to see how we can put more fencing in, but you can't fence everything," Wallace said.
Bolin said the problems started a couple of years ago when the city cut the budget, resulting in a cutback on feeders. Bolin said this caused the swans to wander away from the lake to get food.
Police said driving slowly by the parking and feeding swans closer to the lake to encourage them to stay close to the water and away from the roads can help keep the swans safe.
"People in the traffic, they stop, they call the park police," Wallace said. "Citizens around Lake Eola are very good about stopping traffic."