An act of blatant animal cruelty saw a swan suffering a terrible neck injury at Crowle.
A wildlife charity is appealing for information after the bird was found shot with an air rifle on the Stainforth and Keadby Canal at Godnow Bridge.
The swan was discovered by a Network Rail staff member, who contacted the Yorkshire Swan Rescue last Thursday.
Volunteers from the charity immediately performed a rescue of the swan, and later confirmed by x-ray that the animal was suffering from a single air rifle pellet lodged in its neck.
Dan Sidley, founder of the Yorkshire Swan Rescue said: “We were called to a swan found on the canal suffering with a huge swelling in its neck which looked terribly infected and painful.
“To our horror, an air rifle pellet has been found to be the cause of this terrible injury. This means someone had deliberately taken aim and fire to cause deliberate and cruel suffering to this poor creature.”
The swan is one of a nesting breeding pair found on the canal, which have produced offspring - known as cygnets - every year to date since 2007. The remaining female swan is now left to defend herself alone whilst currently nesting close to where her injured mate was found.
Swans enjoy statutory protection under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, and it is an criminal offence to intentionally injure, take or kill a wild swan.
Mr Sidley added: “This is a sickening act of blatant animal cruelty, and we would welcome anybody with further information on the shooting of this swan to contact us, so we can pass it on to the police so the matter can be fully investigated.
“I would also encourage members of the public to be vigilant when out walking the canal, and to contact us should they find any injured swans that require our help.”
The swan has undergone treatment by the charity’s veterinary surgeons, and is recovering at the dedicated swan sanctuary based at Barlow, near Selby. It is hoped the injured swan can be returned to its mate once fully recovered.
The Yorkshire Swan Rescue can be contacted on their 24 hour telephone number 07763424892 or by visiting the website www.ysrh.org.uk