The RSPCA is appealing for information after an injured cormorant was found shot in Wickford near Basildon in Essex.
The animal welfare charity is investigating after an x-ray revealed the cormorant had been shot with a shotgun.
RSPCA Inspector Jessica Dayes was called to rescue the bird earlier this month, after a concerned member of the public found it running around their garden unable to fly.
The bird was taken to The South Essex Wildlife Hospital to be assessed. Vets x-rayed the bird and discovered that the cormorant had a number of pellets inside their body, but its injuries were so severe, it had to be put to sleep.
All wild birds are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended) and it is an offence to kill, injure or take wild birds except under licence. The maximum penalty, if found guilty, is six months in prison and/or an unlimited fine.