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

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 Ely 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 Ely 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 Ely 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

More news stories

Yesterday, 16:59
Frances Gillett's surprise 75th birthday party at Little Downham Village Hall. Picture: Steve Williams

She was told she would be lucky to reach 40, but Frances Gillett, who has Down’s Syndrome, has defied the odds and celebrated her 75th birthday - and is now believed to be the oldest women in the world with the condition.

Yesterday, 13:05
East Cambs councillors may get a rise from April

They’ve not had a pay rise since 2013 but councillors in East Cambs could finally get an increase on their basic £4,261 a year from next April.

Yesterday, 16:07
The two teams shake hands before their charity match.

Charitable football talents from Witchford have raised over £700 to help two local footballers’ rehabilitation after they were involved in a hit and run earlier this month.

Yesterday, 11:16
There was another accident on Padnal Bank this week - this time involving three cars.

A car carrying a family with young children spun off a notorious East Cambridgeshire road less than 48 hours after work was completed on installing safety measures.

Most read stories

Most commented stories

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Ely Standard e-edition E-edition
HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Newsletter Sign Up