We are set to release two geese, which had been shot with crossbows, back to the wild tomorrow (17 December).

Goose with bolt in it's neck © RSPCAThe pair were rescued by us after they were seen injured on The Mere in Elsmere, Shropshire.

The release is even more poignant for RSPCA Animal Welfare Officer (AWO) Elaine Williams after she had her nose broken by one of the geese while trying to catch it.

One of the geese had been shot in its wing by a cross bow, but the second had been shot in its windpipe. It is thought both birds had been shot on the 19 October.

The one shot in the wing was a Canada goose; the other shot in the neck was a Canada goose cross.

The goose shot in the neck could still fly

AWO Williams and her colleagues had been trying without success to catch the goose shot in the neck, because remarkably despite its injury it could still fly.

However with the help of some members of the public she managed to get it in a safe place to try and catch it.

AWO Williams managed to catch the bird just as it was about to take off but was cracked on the nose by a wing in the process.

Despite it breaking her nose and her being covered in blood from the injury, AWO Williams did not let go, and after taking a few minutes to recover she then transported the birds to our Stapeley Grange Wildlife Centre for treatment.

It’s upsetting that someone deliberately shot them

The cross bow had gone through the windpipe and remarkably not caused any lasting damage, and it was removed by vets at the wildlife centre.

AWO Williams, who will be releasing the birds on Tuesday said:

“Of course I have had some injuries before when rescuing animals – but never a broken bone – or nose! But I just knew that me and my colleagues had been trying so hard to catch this bird that I couldn’t let go of it, even though my nose was clearly broken. I took some time off work to recover – and clearly these birds both needed to recover as well from their horrific injuries.


“It is amazing really that they both survived and very upsetting that someone has gone out there deliberately shooting them with a cross bow. I would urge anyone who has any information about this incident to call the RSPCA inspector appeal line on 0300 123 8018.”

Read more about our wildlife centres and our wildlife rehabilitation work.

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