TWO swans were shot dead at a popular fishing pond and green space in an attack which has shocked residents and conservationists.
The birds were thought to have been killed using a powerful pellet gun in the early hours of Wednesday morning at Kingsdown Road Flash in Abram, known locally as Polly’s Pond.
A walker made the gruesome discovery at around 8am on Wednesday, finding one bird under a bush and the other floating in the water.
A closer inspection revealed one bird had been shot in the side of the head.
The incident comes just days after six ducks were shot dead at another fishing lodge in Spring View, with nature experts saying the latest killings are clearly the work of a skilled marksman.
A resident, who asked not to be named, said: “I think it’s disgusting. Obviously somebody’s got themselves a new rifle and is shooting at the birds, it’s disgraceful.
“Quite a few people in the community are talking about it on Facebook.”
Suspicious activity was first suggested as an overnight fisherman reported to the pond’s voluntary bailiff that his dog had started growling and barking at an unseen disturbance at around 3.30am.
Former Greater Manchester bird recorder Judith Smith, who carries out swan rescue work, was called to the flash and removed the two animals.
Greater Manchester Police (GMP) have been informed of the incident as mute swans are on the list of protected species and deliberately killing them is a criminal offence.
Meanwhile the birds will now go to the RSPCA’s swan hospital at Stapley Grange for X-rays.
Judith, of Warrington Road, said this was the first time a swan had been shot in the area in recent times and described it as concerning.
She said: “This is a sad incident and I hope we are not going to see a repeat of it. They are a very good shot to have got two birds.
“I’ve only found a slug hole on one of the birds but there’s no doubt they have both been shot as there are no bite marks to suggest a dog or fox attack and any poison would have affected the fish in the pond.
“Normally swans are able to survive pellets but some of these high-powered guns are much more lethal.”
The incident is the second of its kind in quick succession after several ducks were also shot in the head at the popular Widows Flash fishing lodge in Spring View on Monday.