Hunt is on for potential killers after goose is latest victim of Hackney crossbow attacks

PUBLISHED: 11:51 12 December 2013 | UPDATED: 11:51 12 December 2013

A Canadian goose was found with a crossbow pellet through its chest in Victoria Park

A Canadian goose was found with a crossbow pellet through its chest in Victoria Park


Fears that an armed bird-killer may be stalking the streets are growing after a goose was found with a crossbow bolt through its chest – the third such incident.

Last Sunday the Canada goose was spotted in Victoria Park, Victoria Park Road, with the bolt sticking out of its body.

Just days later, a male swan in Clapton Common died in mysterious circumstances – possibly as the result of a crossbow attack – while in November a duck in Springfield Park, Clapton, was shot in the neck.

The goose was operated on by the Swan Sanctuary, in Middlesex, and has been restored to full health.

Veterinary nurse Melanie Nelson said: “It’s a barbaric thing to do. He could have sustained more serious injuries. He was lucky to get away with his life.”

The Mallard duck, which had a bolt embedded in its neck, has not been seen since park rangers tried to catch it. Rangers found discarded packaging from a “cheap” crossbow in the park on the same day.

Tim Webb, communications manager for The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, said: “The likelihood of the duck 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.

“I would not say the incidents are definitely linked – but the fact they are in the same borough worries me.”

The Swan Sanctuary conducted a partial post-mortem on the swan, which was father to six cygnets at a pond bordered by Craven Walk, Clapton Common and Craven Close.

Jill Walker, a volunteer, said: “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 like this, 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 on that site. You can feed swans with grains such as wheat or fresh [brown] bread – the sort of thing you would eat – not mouldy bread.”

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

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

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