FEB. 21, 2019 / 1:27 PM
Feb. 21 (UPI) -- Animal rescuers in California are trying to determine the origins of a pair of rare black swans that showed up on Balboa Island.
The swans, native to Australia and New Zealand, were captured by Newport Beach Animal Control officials when they were spotted by a dog walker Feb. 11, and they are currently being cared for by the Wetlands & Wildlife Care Center.
Officials said the swans are in good health and don't appear to be afraid of people, leading them to suspect the animals were pets that escaped or were abandoned.
"There are very few of these birds in the U.S," Lisa Peronne, the center's wildlife manager, .
"You have to possess a permit to keep them. There is no one registered in Newport Beach that has a permit. They're usually held by collectors of exotic animals. Your average person wouldn't have them in their backyard," she said.
She said a breeding pair of black swans can sell for up to $3,000. She said officials have not yet determined the sexes of the captured swans.
The center and animal control officials have been posting photos of the birds in the hopes of identifying their owner.
"We don't know if they escaped or if somebody dumped them," Peronne said.
She said the center can only house the swans temporarily, so she is searching for another facility to take the unusual birds.
"I have to do research where they can be taken," Peronne said. "It could be a long process or we could get lucky."