WARNING: DISTURBING PHOTOS. Reader discretion is advised.
A great blue heron was taken into the care of a wildlife rehabilitation organization after it was shot so badly that it wasn’t able to stand on its own, or even defend itself in the wild.
The Wildlife Rescue Association of B.C. said in a Friday news release that the bird, which had come from Langley, was found shot through with three pellets.
Coverage of species at risk:
Two of the pellets had broken the heron’s right femur, causing such damage to its right leg that it couldn’t stand.
The bird’s injuries were so severe that veterinary technicians decided to put it down.
The association noted that great blue herons are protected by the B.C. Wildlife Act and the Migratory Birds Convention Act; the trees they nest in also have year-round protection, both on private and public land.
The association “condemned” the shooter’s actions and reported them to the authorities.
Two of five great blue heron subspecies live in British Columbia, according to Nature Canada.
The fannini subspecies of the great blue heron lives only on B.C.’s northern and southern coasts.
That particular subspecies is considered “at risk” under Canadian legislation.
Here are some photos of the great blue heron that the Wildlife Rescue Association of B.C. cared for: