A rescue mission was launched at Chichester Canal this afternoon (Thursday), after two swans were found shot.
RSPCA officers have been on scene for a number of hours, assisting the Chichester Canal Trust.
A spokesperson for The RSPCA said: “The RSPCA was called today to rescue two swans who had been shot in the head on a canal in Chichester.
“The animal welfare charity was contacted by concerned members of the public who had spotted the swans who both have injuries to their heads.
“Two RSPCA flood rescue officers and an animal collection officer attended and used a rescue boat to rescue the birds.
“The rescue took a number of hours and one swan was rescued from the water. The bird has been taken to a vet for emergency treatment.
“Due to it getting dark, officers were unable to continue, however they will return tomorrow to catch the second injured swan.”
The RSPCA said the rescued swan had an injury to his head and beak and it is believed he had been shot ‘with some kind of ball bearing type air gun’.
The spokesperson added: “Vets will be treating the bird this evening and further examinations will be needed to assess the damage caused by the ball bearings.
“The RSPCA would like to thank the Chichester Canal Society who helped with the rescue.
“It’s absolutely heartbreaking that someone would purposefully target these beautiful birds.
“The RSPCA is appealing for any witnesses who may have seen what happened to these swans and would urge anyone with information to call us in confidence on the inspector appeal line 0300 123 8018.”