A duck who RSPCA officers and a local animal lover tried to rescue for nearly a week because he had a dart through his neck has been captured, treated and released back into the wild.
The RSPCA was first called about the male mallard on February 26 after he was spotted beside the River Don, Sheffield Road, Oxspring with the four inch metal dart through his neck.
Officers attended almost every day until he was finally rescued with the help of a kind-hearted and determined member of the public on March 4.
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RSPCA inspector Sara Jordan said: “Almost every RSPCA officer in our area had a go at catching him but as he was still very active, and able to fly and swim, every time we tried he managed to escape.
“We concocted a plan with a local animal lover who feeds the ducks and left a net and box with them.
“We got a call from them on Monday 4th to say he had turned up wanting some food and they were able to catch him and keep him safe until we got there.
“Their dedication to helping this duck meant we were able to get him to the vets to have the dart removed, give him a few days of antibiotics and B&B, and get him back on the river, where he belongs.”
He was released back to the area on Monday.
“This was a real team effort and we’re very glad that there is a happy ending for this duck, who was very lucky not to have been more badly injured by this incident,” said Inspector Jordan.
“Clearly he has been targeted by someone with a great deal less love and respect for our wildlife than the kind-hearted and determined member of the public who helped us here.
“We would ask that if has any specific details about who was responsible, or saw anything that might help to please call us.”
The dart is thought to have been either a blow dart or air rifle dart. Anyone with any information is urged to ring the RSPCA inspector appeal line on 0300 123 8018.
For more information on what to do if you find an injured wild animal, visit the RSPCA website.