Cruel thugs who shot a swan and caused such horrific injuries that it had to be put to sleep are being sought by the RSPCA.
The animal welfare organisation is desperately appealing for information following the shocking incident at a quiet beauty spot in the borough.
Officers from the RSCPA were called to Fir Tree Flash in Leigh after a concerned member of the public spotted the female swan with appalling injuries.
They were horrified to find the bird, known as a pen, was paralysed down one side after being shot in the back of the neck. She was taken to the RSPCA Greater Manchester Animal Hospital (GMAH) but it was decided to peacefully end her life to prevent her suffering any further.
The RSPCA now wants to hear from anyone who knows something about the incident, which happened on Saturday August 5.
RSPCA animal welfare officer Dave Cottingham said: “It was obvious all was not well with this poor swan. She was very lethargic and unable to use her left leg or wing, and kept falling over backwards when she tried to move.
“When I got her to GMAH they confirmed that she had indeed been shot and very sadly the only thing they could do was put her to sleep.
“Anyone with any specific information about who did this, or who saw anything that might help us to identify the person responsible, should call us.”
The act of wanton cruelty has appalled local nature lovers, who took to the Leigh Wildlife and Nature group on Facebook to register their disgust.
A post on the group also suggests this is not the first time swans at Fir Tree Flash have met a grisly end, with reports suggesting a male bird was killed by dogs in May and one of the young cygnets was fatally strangled by fishing cord.
Karen Watts wrote: “Aww no way horrible people hope the remaining ones are ok!”
Sheila Hill wrote a simple message: “Absolutely disgusting.”
Anyone with information about the August 5 swan shooting should ring the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999.