RSPCA battles to save swan shot in the head with a metal pellet at air gun ‘hot spot’ between March and Wisbech

Battle to save swan shot near March

Battle to save swan shot near March - Credit: Archant

The RSPCA is battling to save a swan that was shot in the head with metal pellet at an infamous air gun ‘hotspot’ between March and Wisbech.

The stricken swan was rescued by the RSPCA after he was found by a passer-by with blood coming from the wound last Wednesday.

He was rushed to RSPCA East Winch Wildlife Centre, in Norfolk, for treatment and x-rays showed the metal pellet had lodged in his head.

Inspectors are now appealing for anyone who may have seen someone shooting an airgun on Coldham Bank in recent days to contact them.

Deputy chief inspector Jon Knight said: “This poor swan has suffered a traumatic injury and is not very well at all.

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“This week we found 23 air gun gas cartridges in a five metre square area close to where the swan was found. The cartridges are of varying degrees of age, from rusty to new which suggests that perhaps one person or a group of people have been regularly actively shooting in the area for some time.

“People need to remember the devastating consequences that shooting at animals with air guns can have.

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“In recent years I have been aware of several other shootings along this stretch of river, involving other swans, water birds and even an otter. It is quite a hotspot for these kind of attacks.

“It is very distressing to think that people take pleasure in causing such horrific injuries to defenceless animals. These are deliberate acts of cruelty and I would appeal to people’s consciences not to commit such an atrocious offence.

“We would also like to remind members of the public of the penalties faced if caught deliberately using an air gun to injure an animal. Under the Animal Welfare Act, those causing unnecessary suffering to animals face a £20,000 fine and/or up to six months in prison.

“We would urge anyone who has any information on this matter to contact us as soon as possible on 0300 123 8018.

“This swan is currently receiving treatment at RSPCA East Winch but he has suffered very serious injuries and it is not yet known whether he will survive.”

As a charity we rely on public donations to exist. To assist our inspectors in carrying out their vital work please text HELP to 78866 to give £3 (texts cost £3 + one standard network rate message).

* So far this year the RSPCA has received 565 calls regarding air gun shootings

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