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Duck hurt in crossbow attack evades capture

By Paul Nizinskyj, Wombwell Reporter Friday 1st February 2013
True survivor: The injured duck photographed by Norman Hearne.

A mallard duck shot through the neck with a crossbow evaded capture by RSPCA for more than a week - with the bolt still sticking out.


A spokesman for the animal charity said he had 'no idea' how the bird was still alive after suffering the injury at Dearne Valley Country Park, near Monk Bretton Priory.


The duck was found by Lord Street resident Norman Hearne, 57, on January 20 after visiting the park to photograph a kingfisher spotted by a friend.


As he was walking home, however, Norman spotted the duck and, thinking it had a fishing line caught around its neck, took some photos.


It was only upon closer inspection he realised the protrusion was in fact a crossbow bolt. He called the RSPCA and an officer from the organisation arrived to attempt to catch the duck.


"She tried coaxing it with some bread but it just sat there looking at her," said Norman.


"Then she got the dry suit on and got into the river and started wading up to it with a big net. She got within 15 yards of it but it flew off."


RSPCA spokesman Ben Shaw said officers had been down to the park every day since in an attempt to capture the duck but so far has evaded capture.


He said: "We're hoping it's a case of, if we can catch it, we can get it to the vet and, after rehab, get it back to the wild. But the trouble is birds can fly and we can't."


As to how the duck had survived, Ben said he was left scratching his head.


"I'm baffled as to how it's stayed alive this long. I've never seen a bird with such a savage injury survive. It must be a case of the bolt being millimetres from vital areas."


An investigation has been opened into who fired the crossbow and anyone with information should contact the cruelty line on 0300 1234 999 with information.


The RSPCA spokesman also advised residents not to attempt to catch the duck as, if it became too wary of people, it may flee the area for good.