Shot swan sparks outrage between two Milton Keynes charities


A wildlife charity has been accused of putting people in danger when attempting to rescue a swan shot twice by an air rifle.

Rob Riekie, head of operations at The Parks Trust, criticised Ark Wildlife Hospital (AWH) for not having the right equipment to help the injured bird, which had got caught up in fishing tackle at Furzton Lake.

Margaret Burke

Margaret Burke

Mr Riekie claims the charity had tried to launch a boat without having any life jackets or back up support on the bank, but the boss at AWH says her staff will stop at nothing to help hurt wildlife.

Mr Riekie said: “Unfortunately we have been aware of rescue attempts by Ark where they might not have the right number of people or the right equipment to undertake a rescue safely and this potentially endangers them and other park users.

“We had a responsibility to point out to them, as we would with anyone launching a boat without permission, that we could not allow this as it was not safe to do so.”

He has asked anyone going onto their land to seek permission beforehand so they can get advice from the RSPCA.

Speaking on behalf of AWC, Councillor Margaret Burke called The Parks Trust’s account of the incident “total rubbish”.

She said: “We had four people on the site which is perfectly adequate – you really only need two.

“We know what we are doing and are not putting members of the public at risk in any way.

“The only risk is to us and we gladly take that risk; that’s nothing to do with The Parks Trust.

“What does a life-jacket do anyway?”

Contact community rangers at The Parks Trust if you see distressed animals on their land by calling 01908 233600 or emailing