Police in Gloucestershire say they'll deal robustly with offenders after a bird of prey was found shot last month.
The red kite was found alive by the roadside in the Cotswold village of Salperton on Friday 12 March but unable to fly.
The person who found the bird contacted the Vale Wildlife Hospital but the it had to be put down due to the severity of its injuries.
Following an X-ray vets discovered the bird had been fired at with a shotgun and it is thought the creature had been shot close to the village, as it would have been unable to fly or glide with its injuries.
PC Ash Weller from the Rural Crime Team said this is an unacceptable crime.
He said, "An X-ray of the bird revealed multiple bone fractures caused by the lead shot, therefore suggesting a shotgun was used.
"We are exploring all avenues as this could have been someone travelling through the area rather than someone local to the area.
"We are working closely with shooting and animal protection organisations, who are equally appalled by this act and are assisting us with our enquiries."
The RSPB are working with Gloucestershire Police with this investigation.
Jenny Shelton, Investigations Liaison Officer said: "Red kites are a joy to encounter on a country walk, or even soaring over our homes, identified by their long, red wings and distinctive forked tail.
"We can’t take these birds for granted: only 40 years ago they were a rare sight having been driven almost to extinction in the UK in the 19th century.
"To know that they are still being illegally killed is a blow to anyone who enjoys and values the natural world. All birds of prey are protected by law and if anyone has any information that might help with this police investigation, I urge you to come forward.”
Anyone with information can either call police on 101 or use this form quoting incident 333 of 14 March.