A buzzard was shot with an air gun in a Fenland village and was taken to a vet where an X-ray discovered a pellet in her head.
The female buzzard had been found in the front garden of a member of the public in Bustards Lane, Walpole St Peter.
The bird was thin and weak and RSPCA Inspector David Podmore rushed the bird to a nearby vet.
The wound was infected and as the bird was emaciated it is likely she had been shot some time ago.
The pellet had entered above her left eye luckily missing her eye and skull. The wound had developed into an abscess, so this was surgically drained, and she was put on antibiotics and pain relief.
She’s since been monitored by a specialist bird of prey rehabilitator but unfortunately, her eyesight has deteriorated.
She is due to undergo surgery to remove the pellet in the hope that this may reduce swelling that’s suspected to be the cause of the issues with her vision.
It is hoped that if she does recover, she will be released back to the wild when she is strong enough.
David said: “It is upsetting to think that this beautiful bird was deliberately targeted and shot.
“The bird had clearly been shot a while ago as she was so emaciated, and the wound was infected.
“While we do not know where the shooting would have happened, this is certainly an offence under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.
“We would urge anyone with any information about how this bird came to be harmed to call the RSPCA Inspector appeal line on 0300 123 8018 or the police.
All wild birds are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, and it is an offence to kill, injure or take wild birds except under a licence. The maximum penalty, if found guilty, is six months in prison and/or an unlimited fine.
The RSPCA receives almost 1,000 calls to investigate air gun shootings every year and cats and wildlife are usually the animals most often affected.
A RSPCA spokesperson said: “We are calling for tighter controls on air weapons.
“This, along with better education and explanation of the law when buying an air gun, and requirements that everyone must receive basic safety training before being allowed to walk out of the shop could help relieve the problem.
“These weapons cause horrific pain and suffering. Anyone caught deliberately using an air gun to injure an animal can face up to six months in prison and/or an unlimited fine if found guilty under the Animal Welfare Act.”
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