The birds were shot repeatedly on the Old Ea Beck river near Doncaster earlier this month – and police are now probing the vile attack.
Wildlife experts from the Yorkshire Swan and Wildlife Rescue Hospital are caring for the bird which survived the brutal assault, which has been described as “nothing less than a premeditated, deliberate and brutal act of animal cruelty.”
Staff from the hospital were called to Hampole Balk Lane in Skellow on March 11 after a number of residents reported seeing the male bird covered in blood.
A spokesman said: “Upon rescue and on closer examination, the bird was suffering with injuries consistent with having been targeted with projectiles from an air weapon.
"Following an X-ray examination, it was determined the bird had been shot at least five times in the head and neck.
“A second female swan was found further downstream, and reported as dead.
"This bird was collected, and subsequent radiographs found the animal to have also been shot at least four times, in both the neck and abdomen.
“Data from the leg rings of both birds confirmed this was a bonded pair of swans, and had already made preparations for their annual nesting attempt this spring. Both birds had been seen together, alive and uninjured, less than 24 hours earlier.
“There can be zero doubt that the attack on these animals and the suffering inflicted as a result was nothing less than a premeditated, deliberate and brutal act of animal cruelty.
“The male swan continues to receive specialist care, and is responding very well to veterinary treatment. Despite the extent of his injuries and initial poor condition, we are now confident the animal will make a full recovery in due course.”
Swans are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, and it is illegal to deliberately injure, take, or destroy a swan, their eggs or nesting habitat. Dedicated wildlife crime officers from South Yorkshire Police are now investigating.
Anyone with information should contact South Yorkshire Police directly by calling 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111, and quoting incident number 650-120322 for the attention of Sgt. Gregory.