COUNCILLORS and members of the public have condemned a decapitation of a swan at Loughbrickland Lake over the weekend.
A reader who came across the gruesome discovery sent these pictures to the Leader, believing the mindless crime came from the hands of a human perpetrator.
“The swan appeared to have been neatly decapitated, with the body fully intact and relatively few feathers around the bird,” he said. “For this reason, it seems more likely to have been an attack by a human rather than by an animal.”
The man said he called the RSPB about the incident and also the Banbridge PSNI who said they were sending a wildlife officer to the scene to examine the bird.
There have not been many reports of injury or cruelty to swans at Loughbrickland Lake in recent times, but in June this year the lake was in the news due to a toxic algae bloom which was said to pose a public health risk.
Loughbrickland Lake and Moor Lough near Strabane were both closed after blue-green algae blooms appeared in the water and as toxins could accumulate in fish, locals were advised not to eat any taken from the water.
The Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure based its decision on advice from environmental health officers who erected signs warning of side effects from the algae, including skin rashes, eye irritation, vomiting, fever, diarrhoea and muscle pain.
And the preceding year, Loughbrickland Lake was hit by a build-up of algae and weed which killed a number of fish, resulting in a weed harvester being brought in to cut back the weeds.
Local councillor Jim McElory appealed for members of the public who suspect or witness any acts of cruelty regarding swans to report the matter immediately to police and the USPCA.
“This is a dreadful act and I would appeal to anyone who knows anything about the decapitation of these innocent and beautiful birds to make the authorities aware immediately,” said Mr McElroy.