An appeal has been launched to trace the killer of a male swan found dead at a popular South Tyneside nature reserve.
The bird was discovered by a member of the public who spotted it dead in the water on May 18 at Hebburn Nature Reserve just off Mill Lane.
Obviously its very distressing for the many people who care about the birds and disappointing we weren’t able to help the bird before his demiseJohn Anderson
It’s body was removed by workers from Gateshead Council and taken to Environmental Services where it was later collected by Blyth Wildlife Rescue.
It was confirmed the swan had been shot with a single air rifle pellet to the adbomen and died days later from the wound which had become infected.
Following the bird’s death the charity has since received a number of calls from concerned members of the public worried about his mate and six newly-hatched cygnets.
It is thought the distraught female swan had not been caring for the youngsters. However, all were found to be in good health.
The swans are looked after at the reserve by a strong following of residents who live nearby who have been feeding the birds and looking after the park area.
Charity founder John Anderson said: “Unfortunately, from the state of the wound and the infection present, it was clear that the bird had been shot several days to a week before death.
“Obviously its very distressing for the many people who care about the birds and disappointing we weren’t able to help the bird before his demise.”
Anyone with information is urged to contact Northumbria Police quoting Incident Number 22 of 22/05/18. Blyth Wildlife Rescue can be contacted on 07910 643 122 – donations can be made by visiting www.b-w-r.org.uk