The RSPCA is investigating after a cygnet was shot with a crossbow in Leicester – missing his brain by millimetres.
The young swan, thought to be around eight weeks old, was rescued from a part of the River Soar in Soar Lane on Sunday morning (4 September).
Miraculously, the swan has survived and will hopefully make a full recovery.
RSPCA inspector Sarah Bate said: “When I arrived, the swan was lying on the bank and he was obviously in pain. The crossbow had gone straight through his head, just above his right eye, and straight through the other side – a very shocking thing to see.
“I took him immediately to a vets where an x ray showed the crossbow had missed his brain by a tiny fraction – just millimetres. He is a very lucky swan indeed as this could very easily have been fatal.
“The crossbow was carefully removed and the swan is recovering well. He has now been taken to a local wildlife centre where he will be monitored before being returned back to the wild.”
Inspector Bate said she was keen to speak to anyone who witnessed the incident. She said: “The swan was likely shot overnight on Saturday or in the early hours of Sunday morning. Anybody who saw this happen, or who knows any information about who did it, we urge you to contact us in complete confidence on 0300 123 8018.
“It is very worrying that someone has deliberately done this. The swan would have suffered during those hours that the crossbow was in his head. Thankfully he has received veterinary care and is recovering, but if this happens again then the next swan may not be so lucky.”
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 or interfere with their nest or eggs. The maximum penalty, if found guilty, is six months in prison and/or a £5,000 fine.
The RSPCA is a charity and we rely on public donations to exist. To assist our inspectors in carrying out their vital work please text HELP to 78866 to give £3. (Texts cost £3 + one standard network rate message.)