Swan found in Ferry Meadows needed surgery to remove ball bearing after ‘being shot by catapult’

A swan needed surgery to remove a ball bearing from her cheek after she was believed to have been shot with a catapult.

Thursday, 6th February 2020, 12:48 pm

The female adult mute swan was reported to the RSPCA by a concerned member of the public who had seen the injured bird at Ferry Meadows, in Peterborough.

RSPCA animal collection officer Justin Disdale was sent to the location on Monday, January 23 and managed to catch the swan and took her to the RSPCA East Winch Wildlife Centre for treatment.

Sadly when the bird was X-rayed it was discovered she had a piece of ammunition - a ball bearing likely to have been fired from a catapult - walled off in the side of her face.

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The swan which needed surgery

Alison Charles, centre manager at East Winch, said: “Our vet examined the swan on arrival and the lump on the side of her face was very large and causing a large amount of discomfort and she was very weak.

“When we X-rayed her we could clearly see the ball bearing and we suspect it had been fired from a catapult. She was very weak when she arrived at the centre, so we needed to give her time to build up her strength before we carried out the surgery.

“The surgery went well and the ball bearing was removed and she’s already looking a little brighter. She’s on antibiotics and hopefully will be strong enough to recover. She’s likely to be with us for a number of weeks though.

“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.”

The RSPCA has been working with the wildlife crime officers PC Alun Bradshaw from Cambridgeshire police and PC Jon Chandler at Norfolk Police in relation to this incident.

Anyone who has any information about this incident is asked to contact the RSPCA’s inspectorate appeal line in confidence on 0300 123 8018 or call the police.

Cambridgeshire and Norfolk police have dedicated officers specifically trained to deal with incidents of wildlife crime, and if anyone witnesses a wildlife crime in progress they are urged to call police on 999.

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 to take, damage or destroy their eggs or nest while it is in use or being built. The maximum penalty, if found guilty, is six months in prison and/or an unlimited fine.

Donations can be made to the RSPCA by visiting https://www.rspca.org.uk/getinvolved/donate/online or calling 0300 123 8181.