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Appeal after swan fatally wounded by air gun shot near King’s Lynn river

todayMarch 16, 2021 20

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A swan had to be put down after being shot with an air rifle near a river in South Lynn, charity officials have revealed today.

The incident, near the River Nar, is the third of its kind referred to the RSPCA’s East Winch Wildlife Centre in little more than a week.

And officials have today appealed for anyone with information to come forward, amid fears the bird may have been deliberately targeted.

The swan had to be put down after it was shot (45208287)
The swan had to be put down after it was shot (45208287)

The female cygnet was taken to the centre on March 1, after being spotted by a member of the public who noticed her collapse whenever she tried to stand.

It was subsequently that she had been shot in the head with an air rifle at close range.

Centre manager Alison Charles said: “Our vet examined the swan on arrival and she was very weak.

This X-ray shows the pellet in the swan's skull (45208267)
This X-ray shows the pellet in the swan’s skull (45208267)

“When we x-rayed her we could clearly see the pellet. We suspect it had been fired at close range and as the wound was quite fresh it is likely it happened over that weekend.

“It is just so upsetting to think that someone has deliberately targeted an innocent wild animal.”

Because the injury was so severe, the swan was put down to prevent her suffering any further.

The incident follows two similar cases in Lincolnshire on February 23 and 28, where birds were brought to the centre after being shot. The cases are not believed to be linked.

But Inspector Jon Knight, of the RSPCA, said the cases were “extremely worrying.”

He added: “We want to highlight this awful incident so that people can keep an eye out for wildlife in the area, although we hope that this was an isolated incident.

“I would also like to thank the member of the public who helped this swan and kept a watchful eye until we collected the bird. I’m just sad this is not the outcome any of us wanted.”

All wild birds are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and it is illegal – except under licence – to take, injure or kill wild birds. The maximum penalty, if found guilty, is six months in prison and/or an unlimited fine.

The RSPCA says it receives around 1,000 calls a year to animals which have been shot with air weapons and is calling for tighter rules on their sale.

Anyone with information about the South Lynn incident is asked to contact the RSPCA’s inspectorate appeal line in confidence on 0300 123 8018 or Norfolk Police.

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todayMarch 16, 2021 10