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How your swan artworks helped get lead shot banned in EU wetlands

Posted on 15 Dec 2020

If you’ve been anywhere near our social media feeds in November 2020, you’ll be aware that WWT and partners were publicly campaigning to get lead shot banned in EU wetlands by the EU Parliament. This was the culmination of twenty years of research, lobbying and hard graft to get the health of our environment made a priority, and we were delighted when the proposal to ban lead shot was upheld.

As the vote approached, we launched a callout in partnership with BirdLife Europe to ‘share a swan’ as a symbol of hope that decision-makers would place a healthier future first and foremost. Banning lead shot in Europe affects our migratory waterbirds all along the flyway, and it was inspiring to see that waterbird lovers from far and wide took part. The process of getting the ban enshrined in law was a long and complex journey, but our supporters stayed with us to the end and provided a crucial rallying cry to help tip the vote in favour of the ban.

All artwork was wonderful and valued, but here is a small selection in case you missed it.

We loved the blue simplicity of this serene swan pastel piece by @wildlife_drummer_girl, the colours really pop off the page.

The detail of this close up by josh_by_nature and @joshuamcdowall_artist is incredible, it could almost be a photograph except for the expressive line work. The drama of the close crop is emphasized by the simple black background.


This cute illustration by @_elliestrations_ also doubles up as a handy guide to the three swan species we see in the UK – whooper, Bewick’s and mute. If you need to buff up on your swan species knowledge, we have more information on our website.


A meeting of the species here with a delightful contrast of black and white swans by rhudsonillustration – and a festive touch as it’s entitled ‘Seven swans a swimmin’


A real symbol of solidarity, this lovely illustration from @emilyastrong is a fantastic and beautifully designed emblem of the movement.

Sometimes a simple doodle is all it takes! Thanks @CurlewDavid for your contribution.

A stylish and cute graphic design of a smiling swan from @LisaGreener

It didn’t have to be a new picture – this classic artistic print by the renowned artist Keith Shackleton was supplied by Ellie.

People from around the world came together to show solidarity – this doodle by a Danish school student, where using lead shot has already been banned for a long time, showed alongside a picture by Matthew Price.

These were just a few of some of the incredible photos and artworks that were shared with us, and thank you so much if you created a picture!

The journey to banning lead

It's been a fight spanning more than 20 years. Find out more about the issues, scientific research that shows why this is such a complex problem.

Find out more