Shotgun-hit swan now on the mend

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A SWAN found with shotgun pellets in his head is being nursed back to health at a rescue centre.

The bird was rushed to the RSPCA’s base at Mallydams Wood on the outskirts of Hastings after it was found this week with a huge lump on its head. The centre’s vet found it to be an abscess caused by infection to a wound made by three shotgun pelletts.

The pelletts were quickly removed during emergency surgery and the swan, which experts say had probably been suffering with the injuries for as long as a month, is now on the road to recovery.

Mallydams’s wildlife officer Richard Thompson said: “Not only is it very cruel to shoot a swan, it is also a criminal offence. Air rifles and shotguns are often used to shoot at birds and they cause untold suffering.

“We are hoping witnesses will come forward to help us catch the person who did this, so we can stop them inflicting such cruelty in the future.”

The swan had been shot in Littlehampton and locals are being encouraged to report any sightings of fishermen turning guns onto swans.

And local wildlife campaigner Billy Elliot said fishermen here in 1066 Country should use the attack as a reminder to take care around swans.

He said: “We have seen an increase in fishing hook injuries to swans and we are asking anyone who is fishing to be vigilant and not to fish in areas near swans.

“Swans can swallow fishing lines and hooks and it can be fatal. A swan was brought in yesterday with a fishing hook and line in its beak, but it was found when X-rayed to have an old fishing hook embedded in its oesophagus.

“The vet could not save it and it had to be put to sleep.

“We are also asking people fishing for crabs not to use hooks – crabs take bait with their pincers, so you don’t need a hook.”