Stapeley Grange Wildlife Centre

RSPCA wildlife centre issues warning after swan is gunned down!!

The RSPCA is urging people to be on their guard against perpetrators of wildlife crime after a swan was shot on a Cheshire river.

The adult female bird was spotted on the River Weaver at Winsford and x-rays (see picture) taken at Stapeley Grange Wildlife Centre near Nantwich confirmed she had been shot in the head, apparently, by an air rifle. 

RSPCA staff have thanked several members of the public for highlighting the senseless killing, including wildlife enthusiasts Tanya Pickering, her daughter Elois and Chalene Gibson.

RSPCA Stapeley Grange Wildlife Centre Manager Lee Stewart: “It is extremely sad when we have cases like this brought to us and sadly it is far too common a reason for admission. Why are innocent and defenceless animals shot like this?

“With an ever increasing human population it is inevitable that we will see greater conflict between man and wildlife, but shooting innocent animals for fun is just barbaric and unacceptable.”

It has been claimed that two men were spotted firing air rifles on the river bank on the day the swan’s body was discovered (Monday, August 22) on the water, between the Salt Union site and Newbridge pool.

Tanya said: “We could see it was a gunshot wound. It is awful and there have been reports of a Canada goose being shot on the Weaver at Northwich as well in recent days.”

Chalene said: “I know this swan was fit and well on the Sunday before and then to hear that she had been shot is terrible. It raises concerns about the safety of other swans in that area of the river if there are people like this roaming about using them as target practice.”

Cheshire Police Rural Crime Team is investigating the incident.

Julia Griffiths, chairman of Cheshire Neighbourhood Watch Association, said: “It saddens me that we continue to see swans, geese, ducks and birds in Cheshire being persecuted for simply existing.

“We have an excellent rural crime team, but it needs the support of the community to report crimes or provide intelligence.”

Anyone with any information about the shooting can report it by ringing Cheshire Police on 101, quoting incident number IML 1348952.

The RSPCA would also urge anyone to report such incidents to our animal cruelty line by ringing 0300 1234 999.

All wild birds, including swans, are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and it is an offence to intentionally kill, injure or take them except under licence. The maximum penalty, if found guilty, is six months in prison and/or an unlimited fine.

For more information on what to do if you find an injured wild animal, visit the RSPCA website

You can support RSPCA Stapeley Grange’s work rehabilitating injured wildlife by visiting here.

Sadly, this incident is one of many horrific attacks against wildlife which the RSPCA deals with which is why the charity has launched its Cancel Out Cruelty campaign.

Our frontline teams are working hard to rescue animals in need this summer but we can't do it alone - we need your help to Cancel Out Cruelty. To help support the RSPCA, visit: