Pictures: Swan’s sweet reunion with its family on Grantham Canal after a stay in a wildlife hospital

Injured swan is released back on to the River Witham
Injured swan is released back on to the River Witham
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There were a few tears when a female swan, recovered after a severe injury to her tongue, was released back to her family in the waters of Grantham Canal.

The bird, a protected species, spent a few days in a wildlife hospital after a rescue by RSPCA officer Kate Burris.

Injured swan is released back on to the River Witham

Injured swan is released back on to the River Witham

However, the rescue was far from plain sailing after a difficult exchange with the charity’s control room.

It was last Thursday that two men fishing on the banks of the canal on the Earlesfield estate came across the injured swan. It had blood pouring down its neck and appeared to be weak.

The pair immediately called Jim Wheeldon, who is the water bailiff for that section of the water for the Grantham Angling Association. Jim arrived straight away and, seeing the swan needed urgent attention, he called an angling association colleague and asked him to call the RSPCA.

Jim said: “They told him they’re not coming out because he couldn’t give them all the information they needed. So he said he’d give them my mobile number so they could call me, but they wouldn’t.”

Injured swan is released back on to the River Witham

Injured swan is released back on to the River Witham

Desperate to help the injured animal, Jim called both Lincolnshire Police and South Kesteven District Council in the hope that a wildlife officer would be sent out, to no avail. It was only on calling Avenue Veterinary Centre in Grantham that he finally got somewhere.

Jim said: “The lady on the phone went absolutely beserk. She said ‘I’ll phone the RSPCA’. Within 15 minutes I got a phone call to say someone was on their way.

“Anyone else would have given up after all of that and gone on their way.”

RSPCA officer Kate, who lives in Grantham, soon came to the rescue, and Jim could not have been more delighted with her help. “She was brilliant,” he said. “She gave me her number and said I could call her directly if I come across anything again.”

Injured swan is released back on to the River Witham

Injured swan is released back on to the River Witham

The swan was taken to a wildlife hospital to recover after she was found to have a cut to her tongue. And once she was well, she was reunited with her male partner and cygnets.

Injured swan is released back on to the River Witham

Injured swan is released back on to the River Witham

Injured swan is released back on to the River Witham

Injured swan is released back on to the River Witham