A SWAN has died and another one has been left seriously injured after the pair were shot with catapults.

Danni Rogers, who has been a rescuer at the Shepperton Swan sanctuary for three years, attended the incident with colleagues from Swan Lifeline on Tuesday, January 30 at the Basingstoke Canal in Odiham.

Danni said: "Swan Lifeline got a call and they contacted me as well for someone who had reported that two swans had been attacked on the Basingstoke Canal. I drove up there and the female had unfortunately passed away. She had been shot four times in the head and neck from close range. 

Basingstoke Gazette: The injured swan

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"They [the swans] have been together about 12 years, they have been a couple for a while. He had been shot around three times and he was swimming around where her body was. We managed to go down there and rescue him."

The male swan was taken to the sanctuary and is now recovering following successful surgery.

Danni added: "It was pretty emotional but it seems to be a daily occurrence now. It is disturbing and it's not nice. They mourn like all animals and he was there trying to encourage her to move and to get to safety. People need to understand the effect it has on the animals."

He has also started a petition to make the sale of catapults/ammunition and carrying catapults in public illegal. It currently has more than 5,000 signatures. 

He continued: "The obvious thing is for people to stop doing this. It is not funny, it's not cool, it's not big and it's not brave it's stupid. It is cruel and it is not right."

Basingstoke Gazette: The injured swan

"The petition is to take catapults off the street and take them out of public places and make it illegal to carry one in a public place such as parks and waterways."

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On the online petition, he states: "I am an wildlife rescuer and believe we are currently in a wildlife crime pandemic. There has been an increase in reports of wildlife being attacked by groups of youths carrying catapults and ball bearings.

"Seventy five per cent of my call outs are due to apparent abuse of wildlife offences. The law needs to change to give the police more powers arrest those carrying catapults."

The male swan will be released onto the sanatory lake when it's well enough.

To sign the online petition visit petition.parliament.uk/petitions/653116.

A Hampshire Constabulary spokesperson said: "We can confirm we received a report that a swan had been killed and another had been injured at the Basingstoke Canal in North Warnborough.

"It was reported to us at 1.44pm on Tuesday 30 January.

"Anyone with information should call police on 101, quoting the reference number 44240043386."