A swan has died after being shot with an air rifle in Weaverham .
The ruthless killing has been branded a 'deliberate act of cruelty' by the RSPCA.
A concerned member of the public made the grisly discovery in a field on Well Lane on Sunday, March 5.
The bird, which was still alive, was found with a large wound above his leg and rushed to an RSPCA animal centre.
But, sadly, his injury was so severe he was put to sleep to prevent further suffering.
RSPCA animal collection officer Lauren Bradshaw said: “The swan had been grounded in a field and I could easily see the wound above his leg.
"I took him to a vet, where he was x-rayed. This showed that there was an air gun pellet embedded in his body.
“The wound looked fresh so he is likely to have been shot sometime that day.”
It is the second swan shot in that area of Cheshire in two weeks.
The other was fatally wounded at Middlewich Canal.
An x-ray of the swan showed four shotgun pellets in his body, as well as an air rifle pellet that had gone through the back of the swan’s head and had become lodged in the bird’s jaw.
Now the RSPCA is appealing for information about these heinous acts of wildlife crime.
“It is very distressing to think that people take pleasure in causing harm to these beautiful and defenseless birds," added Lauren.
"These are deliberate acts of cruelty and we would appeal to people’s consciences not to commit these offences.”
Anyone who has any information about who shot the swan should contact the RSPCA on 0300 123 8018.