Turkish man strikes up 37-year friendship with swan

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Recep Mirzan, a 63-year-old retired postman talks to Garip, a female swan that he rescued 37 years ago, in his farmhouse outside Karaagac, in Turkey's western Edirne province, bordering Greece, Saturday, Feb. 6, 2021. Mirzan found the swan, wounded with a broken wing, in an empty field and took her to his home to protect her from wildlife. The swan follows the man whenever he is out of his pen, accompanying him when he is doing his chores around the farm or for his daily evening walks. (AP Photo/Ergin Yildiz)

EDIRNE – An unusual friendship between a Turkish man and a swan he rescued has endured for decades.

Retired postman Recep Mirzan found Garip, a female swan, 37 years ago in Turkey’s western Edirne province.

Mirzan and a group of friends were taking a shortcut in their car when they noticed the swan, with a broken wing, in an empty field. Mirzan immediately took the swan in to protect her from predators and kept her in the car until that afternoon, when he was able to take the swan to his home.

Since then, Garip has lived on the man’s farm in the Karaagac region, bordering Greece.

Garip follows Mirzan whenever she is out of her pen, accompanying him when he is doing his chores around the farm or for his evening walks.

“Since I love animals, I said to myself that I should take her home instead of leaving her as prey to foxes,” Mirzan told The Associated Press, recounting the day he took Garip in. “We got used to each other. We never separated.”

Mirzan named the swan “Garip,” which translates as “bizarre” but is also used to describe those who are down on their luck.

After Garip’s broken wing healed, the swan stayed with Mirzan and also befriended the cats and dogs in the area.