A wildlife rescuer pleads with fishermen over fishing gear left at Lake Brooklands, Dartford, after a bird died
A wildlife rescuer says birds and other animals caught and killed by thrown hooks are becoming all too common.
Carly Ahlen, who runs the Gabo Wildlife Foundation, is pleading with anglers at Lake Brooklands in Dartford to properly dispose of their gear after discovering a dead seagull caught in a fishing line.
Carly releasing a rescued swan into Brooklands Lake
She said: “I go all the time to watch the lake and feed the swan I previously rescued, but I was appalled to find a bird trapped in a hook that a careless fisherman threw into the lake.
“I carefully freed the bird and cleaned the long cable that was attached to the hook to avoid further wildlife casualties.
“This death was preventable. It was out of sheer laziness that a fisherman left his hook and line. Then it will be a swan who will suffer the same fate.”
Carly, who worked as a lifeguard for around 26 years, explained that birds often mistake fishing tackle for food which then gets stuck in their mouths.
“It’s cruel. It’s animal cruelty,” she added. “It’s so much worse with hooks. It’s just too much and too common.
“Thousands of birds are injured or killed each year when they become entangled in man-made materials, such as fishing lines.
“I urge Brooklands anglers to please properly dispose of used line, hooks, lures and sinkers.
“You will save bird and wildlife life and take care of the environment. They belong to this planet as much as we humans do.”
A spokesperson for Dartford and District Angling and Preservation Society (DDAPS), which manages the lake, said the club was doing everything it could to tackle the problem.
“He’s just trying to get everyone who uses the lake to treat it with respect,” they said.
“We’re on Carly’s side. We’re doing everything we can and welcoming any ideas we consider.”
The spokesperson said all visitors have been made aware and encouraged to take their rubbish with them, with the rules printed on the back of their day tickets. They are also reminded at the entrance.
The DDAPS also has a rescuer whom it calls to help wild animals that may be injured.
“We advise visitors to take their waste home,” they added. “Some do and some don’t. We do our best and try to help the birds.
“There are a lot of bins around the lake which some people use but some don’t, but what can you do? It’s a tricky situation.”
The club’s maintenance of the lake includes trash pick-up, the spokesman said, and there is a tackle shop nearby that offers a tackle recycling service.
In the same week as the seagull’s discovery, Carly, from St Clements, Dartford, rescued a tawny owl from another location that had also been caught on a hook.
She said he was “on the verge of death” but she managed to save him in time.
His foundation, Gabo Wildlife, is dedicated to rescuing and rehabilitating British wildlife and has run successful campaigns against sports such as fox hunting.
Carly added: “It’s their habitat that we fish on. Every day I get called out for wildlife emergencies. It’s always because of humans, whether it’s cars, traffic, bonfires or whatever. thing.
“It’s becoming a lot more common. It’s different now – it’s worse for wildlife. There are so many issues.”