Published: 06:00, 01 October 2020
One of Sheppey's swans has been killed after being hit by a car.
The bird was struck as it tried to cross the Halfway Road with its mate near the canal at Sheerness .
Ray Allibone who runs Swampy Wildlife Rescue said: "Because of the swan's injuries, the vehicle must have been going at some speed."
He has appealed to motorists to slow down near the Pelican crossing which the swans have learned to use. He said: "Can drivers remember to take care in this area? Swans regularly use the crossing."
He has asked a councillor to investigate installing warning signs for motorists approaching from Halfway.
He added: "There were two swans crossing at the time. The remaining one stood there calling and crying out for a while until it carried on to the other side of the road.
"They were a bonded juvenile pair. It was the young male which was killed which is a great shame because the two might have decided to breed here eventually."
Sarah Segrove, who stopped when she saw the swan, said: "It is all very sad. It's mate was calling for it from the bank by the horses.
"I’m just glad I found it before any children arrived. It would have been very upsetting for kids to have seen it. Its body was still warm when I picked it up. Whoever did this would have known about it and the car would be damaged."
She said another man stopped and helped her move it to the side of the road.
Swans are a protected species under an ancient charter and the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. The maximum penalty for killing one is six months in jail.
Wild unmarked mute swans belong to the Queen. As such, taking or killing one could be regarded as theft and injuring one could be classed as criminal damage. Until 1998 it was still treasonous to eat a swan in the UK.
The swan was run over just before 7am on Saturday.
Swans crossing the road at that location are a familiar sight on Sheppey. They are taught to use the crossing as cygnets by their parents.