Trumpeter swans landed safely in the Cowichan Estuary Wednesday, under the watchful eye of a neighbour.
“I have been keeping my eyes open,” said Morgan Henry, a Cowichan resident, who watches the swans.
Henry hoped the birds would remain in the Cowichan Estuary following the shooting of a swan in a farm field that borders the nature reserve and popular walking paths.
The swan was shot last week by someone hidden in the brush in the farm field, where hunting is allowed.
A Cowichan Bay photographer had just captured a photo of the two swans taking flight on Nov. 13, when the shots rang out and one of the birds was hit and left badly injured in front of him.
The photographer said the hunter then never came for the wounded bird, which later died, sparking a poaching investigation by the BC Conservation Officer Service.
“Why would someone even shoot a beautiful animal like a swan?” said Mahri Sherlock, an avid walker of the estuary trail.
Laurie Arbuthnot, an avid walker and resident of Cowichan Valley, said the hunters are too close to the trail and nature reserve
So in the wake of the shooting, Arbuthnot created an online petition to stop hunting around the Cowichan Estuary. The petition has more than 23,000 signatures and is close to reaching its goal of 25,000.
“I’ve heard too many stories of ducks being injured and falling down by the trail, shot, raining down on people’s feet,” said Arbuthnot.
“I know that hunters have the right and there are responsible hunters but the problem is everyone wants to enjoy this area and it takes away the use for many people,” added Arbuthnot.
CHEK News reached out to the area director for the Cowichan Valley Regional District, Ducks Unlimited, for comment but neither responded before publication deadline.