A DUCK which was shot through the neck with a 5in dart has been released back into the wild.
The injured bird was discovered at Pells Pond, Lewes, on New Year’s Eve. The blowgun attack was described as “sick” and “cruel”.
Wildlife rescuers spent more than a week caring for the duck at a sanctuary and now he has been returned to the pond.
Trevor Weeks, from East Sussex Wildlife Rescue Trust (WRAS), said the bird was a “fantastic character” and had made a full recovery at the WRAS Casualty Care Centre, Whitesmith.
“He has been very lucky and we are delighted he is back where he belongs,” he said.
The dart had narrowly missed the creature’s spine, which would have left it paralysed.
Mr Weeks continued: “Several people have asked if it is safe to release the duck back at Lewes.
“After all the publicity which has occurred and the awareness of all the local residents I doubt the person who has done this will return and try again.”
Two other ducks were less seriously injured by darts at the beauty spot. The alarm was raised by members of the public.
A blowgun is classed as an offensive weapon in the UK and could have a range of around 30ft. A dart was found embedded in a tree at the Pells site, while another one was discovered on an island in the pond.
A Sussex Police spokesperson said: “We have received some good information as a result of the media appeal and inquiries are continuing.”