Police are hunting for a jogger who kicked a baby swan as he ran through a London park, leaving it so badly injured that it died.
The newborn cygnet was reportedly left with brain damage after the man kicked it as he jogged in Richmond Park in south-west London at around 5.30pm on Monday.
It was taken to the Swan Sanctuary charity in Middlesex but its injuries proved too severe and on Wednesday — a day after issuing an appeal for witnesses to the incident —Royal Parks Police announced that it had died.
#Witnessappeal Yesterday at about 17:30 hours at Pen Ponds, #Richmondpark a jogger kicked a newborn Cygnet out of his way instead of going around. The cygnet is currently being cared for @Swan_Sanctuary. Unfortunately it’s not looking good for the Cygnet pic.twitter.com/wQorC5SlpX— Royal Parks Police (@MPSRoyal_Parks) June 9, 2020
It’s not the first time a cygnet has fallen victim to an attack — in 2018 a family of swans including five cygnets and both of their parents was shot and killed in a “senseless” suspected air gun attack in the Kent village of Benenden.
In an initial appeal for witnesses, Royal Parks Police tweeted: “Yesterday at about 17:30 hours at Pen Ponds, #Richmondpark a jogger kicked a newborn Cygnet out of his way instead of going around.”
In an update issued the following day, police said the cygnet had died after its injuries proved too severe.
They also revealed that the man had kicked another cygnet but it managed to escape into the water.
#Update Sadly the Cygnet died this afternoon, his injures were too severe. The suspect was seen to kick another cygnet, which thankfully managed to escape to the water. The jogger had a logo on his running top and is balding.— Royal Parks Police (@MPSRoyal_Parks) June 10, 2020
The jogger is described as a grey-haired white man aged about 60, 5ft 6in, and who was wearing black running shorts and a vest with a logo on it at the time.
Any witnesses are asked to call 07920 586546 and quote reference 0705738/20.