THE rare Asian bar-headed goose that turned up on the River Teifi in Cardigan has died after being attacked by swans.

The incident occurred near the Gloster Row car park yesterday (Tuesday, July 18) when building contractor Geoff Jenkins took an early morning stroll alongside the river.

Looking towards the river Geoff was surprised to see the bar-headed goose and even more amazed when the two swans, who were accompanied by three cygnets, went for the intruder.

The goose was held underwater before being released in an exhausted state and rescued by the builder who lives with his wife Olivia in Lower St Mary Street.

After Geoff left the bird on the riverbank and began making his way home the goose followed him, entered his garden and sheltered in a shed.

As neighbours gathered around the goose seemed quite content to take up residence and was given food and water by residents.

Recalling the river drama Geoff said “The swans appeared to be protecting the cygnets when they attacked the goose who was very lucky to escape with its life.

“I pulled the bird to safety and it decided to follow me,” he said.

Geoff informed the RSPCA who arranged to collect the goose but sadly it has died.

The bird is native to central and southern Asia and it is thought the one spotted is most likely to have been bred in this country and subsequently escaped.

The bird is easily distinguished from any of the other grey geese by the black bars on its head. The summer habitat is high-altitude lakes where the bird grazes on short grass.

The species has been reported as migrating south from Tibet, Kazakhstan, Mongolia and Russia before crossing the Himalayas.

Bar-headed geese have to reach extreme heights when they migrate over the Himalayas and are physiologically and biochemically adapted to flying at altitudes where oxygen levels and temperatures are both extremely low.

It is thought to be the world's highest flying bird and is reported to have been sighted over Mount Everest – a height of more than 29,000 feet.