Police and RSPCA are appealing for witnesses after a protected species of heron was shot and mortally wounded by someone using an air gun.
The injured and struggling grey heron was recovered from the river at Pevensey Bridge, near Pevensey Bay, on Wednesday (10 August) by the RSPCA.
X-rays showed a pellet lodged in its spine and since this rendered the bird unable to stand or fly, sadly it had to be humanely destroyed.
Rother Police Community Support Officer Daryl Holter, who is also a wildlife and heritage officer for Sussex Police, has urged anyone with information about the incident to come forward.
He said: "It's believed the heron was a juvenile, approximately a year old. Herons are a protected species under the Wildlife and Countryside Act and harming them is an offence.
"Had the injured bird not been found it would almost certainly have faced a debilitating death, possibly through starvation or drowning, and to shoot it in this way was a vile and senseless act."
Anyone who saw anything suspicious or who may be able to identify the person responsible is asked to email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 101, quoting serial 487 of 10/08.
Alternatively they can contact the RSPCA or the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 (www.crimestoppers-uk.org).
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