A swan which survived being shot in the head with an air rifle has been released back into the wild after making a startling recovery.
The stricken swan was rescued by the RSPCA after he was found by a passer-by with blood coming from the wound on Wednesday July 1 in March.
He was rushed to RSPCA East Winch Wildlife Centre, in Norfolk, for treatment and x-rays showed a metal pellet had lodged in his head.
A number of other pellets were also found nearby.
It was not known if he would survive the horrific incident - but yesterday the swan was released back into the wild on the River Nene at March.
Deputy chief inspector Jon Knight, who released the swan said: “People need to remember the devastating consequences that shooting at animals with air guns can have.
“In recent years I have been aware of several other shootings along this stretch of river, involving other swans, water birds and even an otter.
“It is quite a hotspot for these kind of attacks.
“It is very distressing to think that people take pleasure in causing such horrific injuries to defenceless animals.
“These are deliberate acts of cruelty and I would appeal to people’s consciences not to commit such an atrocious offence.”
Anyone with information about any animals, wild or domestic, being targeted is asked to call the RSPCA on 0300 123 8018.