By Tui Benjamin
Animal welfare officers are hunting for a duck with a knife embedded in its head.
The RSPCA in Adelaide, South Australia, issued an appeal after two members of the public sent them photographs of the bird with the blade lodged deep in its skull.
But when the pictures were shared on social media, many refused to believe they were legitimate and claimed they had been photoshopped.
The Australian RSPCA have today (WEDS) insisted the photos, taken at Byethorne Park in Nairne on Friday (April 28), are real and are appealing for information over the ‘deliberate act of cruelty’.
Andrea Lewis, chief inspector for RSPCA South Australia, said: “RSPCA South Australia was contacted by three separate members of the public on Friday afternoon – all reporting seeing a duck at Byethorne Park, Nairne, with a knife embedded in its head.
“We received images from two different people, with one of these people also making a report to police.
“We have spoken to two of the people who witnessed the duck with the knife in its head and have no reason to believe these images are fake.
“A rescue officer attended the park on Saturday morning and searched but could not find a duck with a knife in its head.
“The knife may have become dislodged between the time of the photos being taken and the rescue officer’s attendance, or the duck may no longer be in the park.”
The RSPCA said if the duck is still alive, it requires urgent veterinary attention.
Inspector Lewis said local residents who are familiar with the waterbird life in the area are watching for any signs of the injured animal.
In Australia, penalties for aggravated animal cruelty are up to four years in prison or a fine of up to $50,000 AUD (£29,000 GBP) under the Animal Welfare Act.
Inspector Lewis added: “It is not unusual for us to find animals still alive with foreign objects in their bodies.
“Sadly, just last year we also had a report of a duck in the northern suburbs still swimming around with a rusty nail used as a projectile protruding from its neck.
“RSPCA South Australia takes every report of cruelty seriously and this incident is no different.
“Inspectors are still appealing for information about this incident, which is being regarded as a deliberate act of cruelty.”