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Rescued! Swan Shot with Heavy Tranquilizer Dart

Today a friend called -- I could hardly understand him at first because he was so upset. He had just helped to catch a swan in Toms River that he thought had been shot with an arrow. He was on his way to Popcorn Park and wanted to make sure we had one of our veterinarians available.

When he arrived he was sitting in the passenger seat holding the swan. We got a carrier big enough for the swan and placed her in it. As we moved her I could see it wasn’t an arrow it was a lot shorter. We made her comfortable while our vet finished a surgery. When she was done we took the swan from the carrier and put her on the exam table, where we could now exam her better, and what did we find?

A dart used by animal agencies to tranquilize animals (usually wildlife). But this was a larger dart, with a large barb that would be used on deer, never on something as fragile as waterfowl. This larger dart should never be used on an animal in the water as it would drown while it was being sedated. This unlucky swan turned out to be a very lucky swan though, as the dart was in her wing, just missing the humerus bone, and going through the wing just enough for the drug to inject outside her body. If it had injected in a muscle she would have drowned as she fell asleep from the drug.

I have no idea why someone would try and dart an animal in the water, let alone a swan. My friend and a helper just threw some corn in the water and the swan came over and while the swan put her head under the water to get the corn, he grabbed her, real simple. Our veterinarian removed the dart and treated the wound. There was quite a bit of damage because of the barb but she should be fine.

She’s resting comfortably and will stay with us getting antibiotics and other meds until she is healed. If anyone who reads this lives in Toms River and knows of anyone who would have done this, please email me.

If you would like to support the many efforts we make to help animals, such as rescuing this swan, please make a donation today!


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