Duck in Clapton maimed by crossbow thugs while experts investigate shock swan death

A Mallard duck stands on a frozen lake. Picture PA/ Joe Giddens

A Mallard duck stands on a frozen lake. Picture PA/ Joe Giddens - Credit: Empics Sports Photography Ltd.

Callous thugs maimed and potentially killed a duck with a crossbow in Clapton this week.

The Mallard duck was found in Springfield Park in with a crossbow bolt embedded in its neck on Monday.

Park Rangers tried to catch the injured bird but were unable able to corner it and the duck fled with the bolt still embedded. It has not been seen since.

Rangers also found discarded packaging from a “cheap” crossbow in the park.

Tim Webb, communications manager from The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), said that it was unlikely to have survived such a serious injury.

He said: “The likelihood of it surviving is minimal. Chances are it’s now dead. We are shocked by this incident.

“This is a criminal act that should be widely condemned. It’s cruel and has damned that animal to a painful end. I’d urge park users to be vigilant.

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“I would urge anybody who has seen anything to call Hackney Police [on 101] or Crimestoppers [on 0800 555 111].”

Meanwhile, yards away at a pond which is bordered by Craven Walk, Clapton Common and Craven Close a swan was found dead.

The male swan, which is father to six cygnets, is being sent to the Swan Sanctuary in Middlesex for a post-mortem examination to find out the cause of death.

Jill Walker, a volunteer for the Swan Sanctuary, said: “There is a pair of swans with a brood of six cygnets at the pond.

“This morning the male swan was found dead.

“The body is going to going into a swan sanctuary for x-rays. We are going to see if there’s any obvious cause of death. The purpose of the x-ray is to see if the swan has been shot by a crossbow.

“It’s a sad situation. We’ve all heard that swans mate for life but in actual fact they are like humans and so occasionally separate. However, when a pair successfully breed they normally stay together for life.

“I would ask the public to keep an eye on the female swan. She may keep the cygnets with her over the winter. There’s not a lot of natural food at this time of year. You can feed swans grains such as wheat or fresh bread - the sort of thing you would eat rather than mouldy bread.”

Killing or injuring a wild bird - including ducks or swans - is illegal under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

Until 1998, killing or injuring a swan was classed as treason under a mediaeval law dating back to the 12th century.