The Queen's swans shot in the neck with an air rifle

Two of the 12 birds which were shot on the Thames - and which belong to the Crown - have had to be put down by vets and the other 10 have suffered 'life changing' injuries
  • Sick snipers have been shooting at swans on the River Thames with an air rifle
  • Also using a catapult to fire ball bearings the size of marbles at the poor birds
  • Two of the 12 birds which were shot have had to be put down by vets

Swans belonging to the Queen have been shot by sick snipers in the shadow of Windsor Castle.

Two of the 12 birds which were shot - and which belong to the Crown - have had to be put down by vets and the other 10 have suffered 'life changing' injuries.

Local residents in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead have joined police on the banks of the River Thames to try and catch the person or gang behind the shootings.

Official police signs have been put up on the riverbanks to state a police operation is in progress.

All the swans were shot in the head and neck and it is believed that those responsible are targeting them with a high powered air rifle and a catapult that fires steel ball bearings as big as marbles.

Wendy Hermon of Swan Support in Datchet, Berkshire, and her team of rescuers have been called in to deal with two sickening and cowardly gun attacks in the last 10 days.

In the first attack in Barry Avenue, Windsor, last Tuesday four swans were shot.

 
 

Wendy Hermon of Swan Support in Datchet, Berkshire, and her team of rescuers have been called in to deal with two sickening and cowardly gun attacks in the last 10 days

One was just a cygnet and it had to be put down as the ball bearing had shattered its skull.

The three surviving swans all lost an eye each and are now recovering on drips after being rushed to the Alma Veterinary Surgery in the town. 

Then, on Saturday Swan Support were again called out after locals reported swans were in severe distress - eight more had been shot on the Thames.

Alma Veterinary Hospital worked all day on the eight swans but one could not be saved as its injuries were so bad. 

 The three surviving swans all lost an eye each and are now recovering on drips after being rushed to the Alma Veterinary Surgery in the town

The three surviving swans all lost an eye each and are now recovering on drips after being rushed to the Alma Veterinary Surgery in the town

Charity boss Ms Hermon said: 'I cannot understand what pleasure anyone could possibly get from shooting innocent swans. They are peaceful and beautiful birds and they trust people who feed them.

'All 12 of these swans are marked with bands on one leg so they are Crown swans and belong to the Queen. I am sure her Majesty will be horrified to hear that someone is taking pleasure at shooting them.

'The 10 who have survived are being treated here at Swan Support but they all have life changing injuries having lost eyes, had their beaks shattered, and suffered damage from pellets in the brain area.' 

A month ago a swan was found battered to death in Barry Avenue and two months ago three swans were shot in the same place - leading police and the charity to suspect it is the same person or gang. 

 An x-ray showing the bullet that was shot into a swan's head following the cowardly attack

An x-ray showing the bullet that was shot into a swan's head following the cowardly attack

The Queen is the first monarch in centuries to have attended the annual Swan Upping ceremony, which takes place over five days on the River Thames when all mute swans are marked for ownership.

Those caught and marked by the Queen's swan uppers get a ring on one leg and belong to the Crown and those marked by uppers from the ancient City livery companies the Vintners' and Dyers' are ringed on both legs.     

Charity boss Wendy urged members of the public to donate via their website www.swansupport.org.uk to help them pay the thousands of pounds in vet bills they have run up treating the twelve shot swans. 

 

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By World Staff Writer 02/01/2017 04:10:00
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