A goose which made a miraculous recovery after being shot through the torso by a crossbow has been reunited with his mate.

Goose with crossbow injury © RSPCAThe feathery couple are well-known and popular sight among residents at their home, the Burrator Reservoir in Devon. So, there was much concern when the gander of the couple was found at the beginning of May with an arrow through him.

He was bleeding heavily and showing signs of severe distress so we were called to rescue him and take him to our West Hatch Wildlife Centre in Somerset.

RSPCA Animal Collection Officer (ACO) Simon Kite said:

“Amazingly, the arrow just missed the goose’s vital organs.

“It was a bit of a miracle. If that arrow had gone just a few millimetres in any direction it would have pierced the heart, lungs or spleen and been fatal.

“Even as it was, the bird was in a very weak state after losing so much blood. We had to get a boat to catch him but it was much easier than usual as he was so tired.

“It was a callous and completely unnecessary act of cruelty to shoot this bird in this way. If we had not come to the rescue there is no doubt he would have died a slow lingering death.”

This was a deliberate attack

It is believed the bird was deliberately shot overnight on Friday 3 May, as he had been seen by neighbours late the night before in a healthy state, then again first thing in the morning with an arrow through his torso.

Geese reunited © RSPCADuring the rescue, his mate was seen nearby, flapping her wings and honking – as if calling to him. Residents have said she has continued to call for him and ‘pine’ during the weeks he was away getting treated for infection and recuperating at West Hatch.

On Tuesday 21 May the lovestruck pair were reunited, when ACO Kite returned the recovered bird to the reservoir.

He said:

“As soon as I put the gander in my arms to release him back she started calling out. She came running up the bank with excited flaps of the wings, and promptly told me to go away.

“They swam off together as if they had never been apart, non-stop chatting. It was a happy ending no-one would have expected if they had seen the bird weeks before with the arrow through him.”

Can you help

It is an offence under law to cause unnecessary suffering to bird and we would urge anyone with any information to call our information line on 0300 123 8018 quoting reference number 329 of 2/5/13.

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