Waterfowl Suffer Horrific Injuries From Abandoned Fishing Gear
East Winch RSPCA Wildlife Center has become a recycling point for discarded fishing gear to prevent further incidents of animal damage.
In 2018, wildlife across the country were injured and killed after swallowing fishing hooks or becoming entangled in abandoned lines.
Waterfowl were the most affected, with the species with the highest number of calls being swans (1,684), geese (461) and ducks (283).
East Winch staff and volunteers have looked after a large number of birds and some of the more recent cases include:
A swan rescued from the Nottingham area on Sunday September 1 had a hook in its esophagus, which was attached to a line with two other hooks.
The center vet operated to remove the hook and is now receiving pain relievers and antibiotics.
A gull was also found in Old Hunstanton on September 4 and is also being treated after swallowing a fishing hook that also got stuck in its esophagus.
The hook was on a line attached to a weight of 150g.
The weight meant that the seagull could neither take off nor fly.
The vets managed to remove the hook. It is also treated with antibiotics and pain relief.
Veterinarians at the center also treated an adult swan which was brought in from the Peterborough area on August 16 after it was found with a hook also stuck in its neck.
Vets operated and removed the hook, but the neck was severely infected and a second surgery was needed to drain fluid from the wound.
Holly Barber, Anti-Litter Campaign Manager for the RSPCA, said: “We hope our new recycling facilities will help reduce the terrible toll that is being inflicted on animals by carelessly discarded fishing gear.
“Our records show that waterfowl are particularly vulnerable to this hazardous material.
“The majority of anglers dispose of their waste properly and it’s frustrating that those who don’t maybe haven’t realized how dangerous it is for animals.
“The thrown line in particular is a terrible danger to wildlife, especially since it can be almost invisible.”
The dedicated recycling point, one of four of the RSPCA centers nationwide, will allow those visiting the wildlife sanctuary to dispose of their fishing gear in the proper manner.