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THE DRAKE ESCAPE; WILDLIFE: Duck still evades capture a year after thugs shot him with a bolt.

Byline: By Ben Griffin

A DUCK which has been shot with a crossbow by sick thugs has amazingly survived with a bolt in its neck for more than a year.

The duck has been spotted many times in Coventry and Warwickshire since March 2005.

RSPCA officials, who have named him Geoff, have been called out dozens of times and have even used a boat to try to rescue him.

But every time they get near him he flies away.

Geoff has been spotted in Swanswell Park in Hillfields and also frequents a seven-mile stretch of canal between Coventry and Bedworth.

An RSPCA spokeswoman said today: "A mallard duck matching the same description with a crossbow bolt in its neck has been seen a few times now since March 2005.

"He's never in the same place for more than a few days, although from residents' sightings he never seems to stray far beyond a seven- mile stretch of the Coventry canal.

"We have done all sorts to try to catch him, even sent a boat out, but every time he manages to fly away and avoid treatment.

"It's sickening that anyone would shoot a wild animal like this and unfortunately it seems to be be coming increasingly common.

"The problem is, having had a bad experience at the hands of humans, he will be very reluctant to come near anyone trying to help.

"It's very frustrating because it would be very easy to treat him.

"Having said this, despite living with a crossbow bolt embedded in his neck, the duck seems pretty healthy and he is a real fighter."

She added: "We urge anyone who has seen him to tell our officers so that we can give him a chance of living a normal life."

In recent years ducks and swans in Coventry and Warwickshire have suffered a spate of shootings.

In July last year a mallard in Nuneaton which survived with a screwdriver embedded in its side for more than a year made the headlines after being killed by an air rifle pellet.

West Midlands Police have warned that anybody successfully prosecuted for shooting or injuring wildlife could face a fine of up to pounds 5,000.

HOW YOU CAN HELP: If you have any information about the whereabouts of Geoff or of any similar attacks, contact either the RSPCA on 08705 555999 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

CAPTION(S):

PLUCKY...The duck, named Geoff by RSPCA officers, has been spotted dozens of times by the public but shuns any attempt to bring him in for treatment.
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Apr 13, 2006
Words:427
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