Hunt for duck with a crossbow bolt through its neck
ANIMAL rescue teams have been trying to capture an injured duck for three weeks after it was shot through the neck with an arrow.
The female mallard is alive and well according to animal experts but could be at risk of infection if it is not treated soon.
The duck was reported to the RSPCA last month after it was spotted in the river through Tewkesbury.
It is understood that a marksman had “intentionally” shot the animal.
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Katya Mira, media correspondent for the RSPCA, said: “Our inspectors have been out several times, as have staff from another wildlife centre nearby, and no one has yet been able to catch the duck. The good news is that the duck does appear to be fully functioning and OK for now. But this does mean he can fly, so tends to take off whenever he sees a net or anyone gets near.
“We are continuing to monitor the situation and attempt rescues when possible. In the meantime, if anyone has any information about the duck and how he came to be attacked with a dart in this way, they should call our investigations line on 0300 123 8018.
“It is completely unacceptable for an animal to be targeted in this way.”
It isn’t illegal for over 18s to own a crossbow in the UK but it is illegal to fire a “broad-head” bolt at anything other than a “target point”.
Search teams have been out on the water in an attempt to capture the bird so that it can be treated. But it continues to get away.
Staff at Vale Wildlife Hospital and Rescue, in Beckford, near Tewkesbury, have also been helping in the search effort. If caught, veterinary surgeons at the centre will treat the animal.
Kim White, care assistant for Vale Wildlife Hospital, said: “There is no guarantee that a bird still capable of flying can be caught.
“The crossbow arrow seems to have passed through the flesh and missed the esophagus.
The problem is that, even though the bird seems well, an injury like this could lead to an infection.”
The centre has received a high number of calls regarding this particular bird. Among them, father-of-one Joe Meason photographed the duck while walking through Tewkesbury with his two-year-old son. He said: “I like wildlife so I like to take my son down to the river for a walk. I think it is totally disgusting because you don’t want children to think that this sort of behaviour is normal. This is animal cruelty - it’s as clear as day.”