A swan needed surgery to remove two large round projectiles lodged in her head and beak, after she was believed to have been shot with a catapult in Glen Parva.
The female adult mute swan was reported to the RSPCA by a concerned member of the public who had seen the injured bird on the Grand Union Canal in Glen Parva, Leicestershire.
An RSPCA officer rescued her on December 27 and took her to the new vet suite at the RSPCA Woodside Animal Centre for x-rays and treatment.
Sadly when the bird was x-rayed, it was discovered she had large projectiles lodged in head and below her beak. The injury had caused a clean hole in the middle of her head. The items were removed by a vet and thankfully had not caused any lasting damage.
The swan was kept at the centre overnight for observation and then released back to the location on December 29 – where she will be monitored.
RSPCA Inspector Karl Marston said: “My colleague had managed to collect the poor swan and take her to the vet suite at Woodside Animal Centre – where the staff were brilliant in looking after her.
“Thankfully despite the injuries after the pellets were removed it was clear that they had not caused any lasting damage. Given the size of projectiles, it is likely they have been fired by some kind of catapult or slingshot.
“The surgery went well and the ball bearing was removed and she was a lot brighter and she was able to be released on December 29. It was lovely to see her swim off – she was very lucky given what she had been through.
“It’s so sad to think that this poor swan had to suffer as a result of an injury which was most likely caused deliberately. We want to highlight this so that people can keep an eye out for wildlife in the area, although we hope that this was an isolated incident.”
Anyone who has any information about this incident to contact the RSPCA’s inspectorate appeal line in confidence on 0300 123 8018.