An 800-year-old tradition of counting the swans owned by Britain's Queen Elizabeth started on Monday, an annual ceremony of "swan upping" that in modern times has become a means of wildlife conservation.

The upping sees three teams - one representing the queen and the others the old trade associations of the Vintners and Dyers - patrol the River Thames in south England over five days to capture, tag and release any families of swans with young.

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