Protected Icelandic Swans Targeted by Hunters Skip to content

Protected Icelandic Swans Targeted by Hunters

Research conducted by the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT) in the U.K. has concluded that 14 percent of Whooper swans, which migrate from Iceland to the Great Britain and Ireland, have pellets in their bodies. Hundreds of swans are killed by hunters.

swan_goPhoto by Geir Ólafsson.

Among Bewick’s swans that breed in Siberia and winter in Britain, the situation is even worse, with almost 33 percent of birds having pellets embedded in their bodies; one surviving swan had as many as 21 pellets in its body, reports.

Julia Newth, a wildlife health research officer with the WWT, who has published the findings in the latest newsletter of the Goose and Swan Monitoring Programme, said she was shocked by the scale of illegal hunting uncovered.

“Both species are completely legally protected in every country they fly through and there should be a zero percentage being shot,” commented Newth.

“The Whooper swans only migrate from Iceland where they breed over the summer and make their way to Britain and Ireland. It means they are being shot in Britain, Iceland or Ireland,” she stated.


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