Swan shot twice by crossbow on Fen river dies five days later at Norfolk welfare centre which had fought to save its life

11:30 10 May 2014

RSPCA inspector Justin Stubbs with the shot swan at Upwell

RSPCA inspector Justin Stubbs with the shot swan at Upwell

Archant

A swan shot twice by a crossbow has died at the Norfolk animal sanctuary which had been fighting to save his life.

X rays show damage to swan at UpwellX rays show damage to swan at Upwell

An RSPCA spokesman said that yesterday morning – five days after the attack- the swan remained in intensive concern but for the time being “he is ok”.

Late yesterday the RSPCA confirmed that the swan had died.

“He took a sudden turn for the worse and sadly had to be put to sleep to end his suffering,” said the spokesman.

The swan had been treated at the East Winch wildlife centre after it had been taken there from the river at Upwell near Wisbech.

Two bolts had been fired into the swan and it was rescued after being spotted on the River Nene by people enjoying a boat trip.

The attack – thought to be by the same or similar weapon used on a goose in nearby Elm two weeks earlier- left RSPCA officials baffled and angry.

“It’s a bit of a coincidence to say the least,” said an RSPCA spokesman. “It makes us think there might be a link”.

The RSPCA said the bolts fired into the swan “were not hard to remove but because the air sac was pierced there was a high risk of infection.”

RSPCA inspector Justin Stubbs had rescued the swan with the help of a member of the public and his kayak, and rushed it to the wildlife centre.

An examination showed that not only was there one crossbow bolt in the swan’s shoulder, but also a second bolt deeply embedded in the swan’s flank rear.

The swan was found just two miles from where a goose was shot with another crossbow in Elm on April 23.

Inspector Stubbs said he urged anyone with any information to contact the RSPCA. He said: “I hadn’t even seen the second bolt until the swan was examined by vets at the hospital. It was deeply embedded in the flesh and covered by tail feathers.

“Presumably someone must have shot this beautiful bird with this cruel weapon, and then calmly reloaded and shot him a second time.

“This is the most recent in what feels like a sustained attack on the wildlife in this area and I am very anxious to put a stop to it. Just two weeks ago a goose was shot with another crossbow down the road, and before that there were many others who have been deliberately run over or shot with air guns in the area, on one occasion even used as a football.

Alison Charles, manager at East Winch, said the injuries to the swan were “truly horrific - it is so sad. It seems such a senseless and violent way to treat such graceful birds.”

Anyone with any information about either of the attacks should call The RSPCA confidential hotline on 0300 123 8018.

Under the Wildlife and Countryside Act it is an offence to take, injure or kill a swan and punishment can include fines up to £5,000 and/or a prison sentence of up to six months.

0 comments

Comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Wisbech Standard visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Wisbech Standard staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Wisbech Standard account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Yesterday, 19:00
Student Frank Etherington whose family donated 48 kilos of rice to Thomas Clarkson Academy's food drive.

Students and staff at Thomas Clarkson Academy have donated more than 1,000 items of food to Wisbech food bank this Christmas.

Yesterday, 15:50
Alan Pain

A councillor’s bid to get Fenland Council to switch from a cabinet style system of governance to committees fell at the first hurdle.

Yesterday, 11:31
Erbie Murat. Picture: Steve Williams.

Former Wisbech Town Council clerk Erbie Murat has got a new job.

Yesterday, 10:00
Britney, the rebel leader of the Bohemians (Oliver Short). Picture: Tim Chapman.

Performers at Wisbech Grammar School paid tribute to iconic rock band Queen with a three night run of We Will Rock You.

Most read stories

Most commented stories

E-edition