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March 29, 2008
Jilted swan returns to true love - a swan-shaped pedal boat
by Gulliver

Black swan Petra and paddleboat

A black swan dumped by her lover has been reunited with her old flame - a giant pedal boat in the shape of a white swan she had been pining for all winter.

Petra made headlines all around the world in 2006 when she grew so fond of the plastic boat she could not bear to be parted from it.

The romance between the odd couple blossomed after German zoo officials in the town of Muenster released Petra on a local lake next to the boat.

She became so besotted with her pedal boat love that she refused to leave its side, even refusing to mingle with the other swans.

The bizarre love affair attracted worldwide attention and a busy tourism industry built up at the Aasee Lake where local shops sold souvenirs of Petra and her pedalo lover.

Last winter Petra refused to fly to warmer climes so she and the vessel were taken into Muenster zoo and housed in the heated enclosure.

Over the past few months the rare Australian black swan struck up a relationship with a real-life German white swan she met at the zoo.

Zookeepers thought that she was all set when the pair started building a nest together.

The real white swan, nicknamed Bruce, was besotted with Petra and they were inseparable, according to zoo staff.

But that romance was short lived and went on the rocks last weekend when Bruce ditched Petra for another. Her unfaithful mate decided to fly off and seek the company of other black swans.

Since then the heartbroken Petra has been swimming around in an agitated state and zoo officials had to do something to calm her down.

This weekend zookeepers decided to reunite her with her beloved boat, which had been returned to its owner only last week.

They are hoping Petra's return to the lake that she shared with the boat for nearly two years will boost up the lovesick bird's spirits.

When they took her away from the boat, she seemed to lose her way, they said. Now that she is reunited with her "old love" they hope she will soon feel better again and regain her sense of security.

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