Man Kills Heron to Rescue Duckling
North Wales Police have reported a very curious incident! An elderly man killed a heron in order to rescue a baby duckling from its stomach!
It would appear that the gentlemen wasn’t wholly in tune with the ways of the natural world! Ducklings are incredibly cute and so nobody wants to see them gobbled up. But herons need to eat and a duckling provides a good meal!
Heron Shot with Air Gun
Evidently, the gentlemen concerned, who hails from the Pwllheli area, witnessed the heron snatch and then eat the little duckling. He decided to act and proceeded to shoot the heron with an air gun before cutting its stomach open and extracting the duckling!
This story gets weirder by the minute!
Extraordinarily, the duckling was still alive!
Police Attend the Scene
The police were alerted to the incident and arrived to find the elderly man with the dead heron. The North Wales Police’s Rural Crime Team said: "You couldn't make this up."
The man, who police have decided not to name, was reported to be elderly and vulnerable. He confessed voluntarily to killing the bird and had no previous convictions. He received a caution for his actions but the decision to let the man off with what some feel was an overly light punishment, provoked a mixed reaction on social media. Many people felt that the punishment should have been more severe. Herons are protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.
Lee Dingain, a conservationist, a naturalist and a Wader Quest trustee posted on Twitter: "Utterly ridiculous! Not too elderly to kill an apparently "protected" & not to mention formidable bird. The heron is the vulnerable one! Decisions like this are a major part of the reason why wildlife crime is not taken seriously."
Did the Punishment Fit the Crime?
The killing of wildlife is never taken lightly and a number of factors are considered before the Police or the courts decide on an appropriate course of action and any punishment. Fines and prison sentences are available for anyone who kills or attempts to kill a heron. But in this case, the man’s previously unblemished record, his voluntary confession and his age were all mitigating factors which resulted in him receiving a caution.
The Mystery of the Air Gun
What do you think about this incident? Should the man have been prosecuted or did the police get it right? It is quite difficult to make a judgement without knowing why the gentlemen was thought to be vulnerable. You have to ask what he was doing out and about with an air gun though. It’s not the sort of thing most people just happen to have about their person!