A SWAN that was seriously wounded when it was shot in the head and neck has been released back into the wild after surviving “against all odds”.

The bird made a full recovery at a swan hospital near York and has now been released on the River Ouse, near Marygate.

Dan Sidley, co-founder of the Yorkshire Swan Rescue Hospital, at Brandsby, near York, said he was delighted that the bird had made such a miraculous recovery.

As previously reported in The Press, the swan was saved by Yorkshire Swan Rescue volunteers, after it was found bloodied and in pain and flapping frantically on the river near Cawood.

The bird was taken to an animal hospital, where X-rays showed it had been shot five times in the head and face with an air rifle.

Mr Sidley said it was probable the injuries inflicted on the bird – one of the worst cases he had ever seen – were caused by a gang of youths spotted with a gun near to where the swan was shot.

“He was in a really bad way and he has done incredibly well to recover,” he said.

“After we brought him in, we removed a total of five pellets – one in his cheek, and the rest in the back of his head or neck.

“Considering his injuries, we are all amazed that he survived. For two weeks following surgery we had to tube-feed him six times a day, to keep him alive.

“One day he managed to eat a little bit of bread and from then on he has pulled through bit by bit. He has come a long way and we hope that he will be okay from now on.”

Mr Sidley said after the article in The Press, the swan hospital had been inundated with calls from concerned members of the public asking about the swan’s progress.

“So many people will be pleased to know he is okay,” he said. “I think people found it hard to comprehend why anyone would want to inflict such horrific suffering and cruelty to an endangered species and will be relived to know that despite his horrifically shocking injuries that the swan has survived against all odds.”

The hospital has offered a £500 reward for information leading to the successful prosecution of whoever shot the swan. Anybody with any information is asked to report it to the Yorkshire Swan Rescue Hospital on 07763424892.

Alternatively you can phone this number to make a contribution to the hospital.