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Last Updated: Wednesday, 15 September, 2004, 14:07 GMT 15:07 UK
Rare osprey blasted with shotgun
The shot osprey
The osprey is said to be recovering well after the shooting incident
A rare male osprey was "deliberately and mindlessly" shot, say police.

The bird, which is recovering from shotgun pellet wounds, was discovered in the Alderbury area of Wiltshire with shotgun injuries.

The osprey is a protected species, but the RSPB says it is the second shooting incident in England this year.

Pc Richard Salter, said: "This is an extremely rare and beautiful bird of prey which the offender could not have mistaken for anything else."

He added: "This was a deliberate and mindless act and we would appeal to anyone with information to contact us."

The bird is being cared for at the Hawk Conservancy Trust, near Andover, who say it is the first osprey to have been brought in during its 25-year history.

Ashley Smith, chief executive of the trust, said: "Because of its behaviour we have had to treat it completely differently from any other bird.

"We all hope that he will be returned to the wild at some point in the near future."

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