Somerset Wildlife Trust is urging members of the public to come forward with information following the death of up to 31 swans on the Somerset Levels.
A reward of over £10,000 raised by members of the public, has been more than doubled following a £10,000 donation from the author Sir Terry Pratchett, taking the total to more than £25,000.
The birds appear to have been shot in the head with airgun pellets and have been discovered in fields around the Wedmore area, over the last month.
Somerset Wildlife Trust’s Brue Valley Living Landscape Manger, David Leach said: ”We would urge local people to be vigilant and report any information to the police. “Conservationists are working locally to protect and preserve the important wildlife of the Somerset Levels so it is devastating to see such a deliberate, cruel attack.”
Avon and Somerset Police, animal charity Secret World and the RSPCA are investigating.
The Somerset Levels is home to three species of swan; mute swans, whooper swans and Bewick’s swans. Mute swans are residents with whooper and Bewick’s swans breeding in Siberia and Scandinavia and seeking refuge from the harsh winters on the Somerset Levels. At the moment we understand the swans that have been killed are resident mute swans.
Swans flock to the Somerset Levels in winter looking for unfrozen open water, a good food supply and safe roosting sites.
Bewick’s swans are a particularly rare species and the population that overwinters on the Somerset Levels and Moors is internationally important.
The Trust owns a number of nature reserves on the Levels. No dead swans have been discovered on the Trust reserves.
Please contact Secret World Wildlife Rescue on 01278 783250 or Avon and Somerset Police with information.
Mute Swans © Ben Simmonds