Swan shot dead at nature reserve

POLICE officers are investigating the death of a swan apparently shot at a Suffolk nature reserve.

Richard Smith

POLICE are investigating the death of a swan apparently shot at a Suffolk nature reserve.

The male mute swan was found dead at the RSPB North Warren nature reserve, near Aldeburgh, on Sunday..

The swan, part of a breeding pair, was discovered floating in the River Hundred on the edge of the reserve by Rob Macklin, the RSPB's Suffolk Coast Area Manager.

Mr Macklin said yesterday: “This was a heinous act. I was horrified when I discovered this dead swan. It was on the river, so would have been very approachable and defenceless.

“It was part of a breeding pair so its mate will not breed successfully this year. It must have been shot from a public footpath, and we are obviously concerned that someone is using a firearm on a popular nature reserve.”

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Mute swans are protected by law, and it is an offence under the Wildlife and Countryside Act to intentionally kill or cause harm to them.

Mute swans pair for life. If one of the pair is killed, its partner will usually find another mate eventually, but this bird's mate is unlikely to find a new mate this year.

Suffolk police has been told about the incident and Anne-Marie Breach, a spokeswoman for the force, said it was still not definitely known if the swan had been shot.

She said the bird was being taken to a vet for an examination and hopefully tests would reveal what had occurred.

The RSPB North Warren nature reserve is located between Aldeburgh and Thorpeness. There are currently three booming male bitterns and nesting marsh harriers in the reedbed, just a few hundred metres from where the swan was found.