Rescuers from East Sussex Wildlife Rescue & Ambulance Service (WRAS) were called out to the River Ouse at Barcombe Mills today after a swan became entangled in fishing line.
The swan was attached to a long length of braided fishing line which was wrapped round its body, neck, wings and legs.
Rescuers used a dry suit and boat to get close enough to the swan to secure it and cut it free.
“At first we though the swan was going to stay in the bushes and hide but it suddenly attempted to fly off down the river but when the line became taut the swan flipped round and started struggling in the water. We though the line was going to break and the swan get loose, but the braided line was so strong even a 10kg swan couldn’t break it” said Trevor Weeks founder of East Sussex WRAS.
Rescuer Chris Riddington was able to get close enough with the boat to secure the swan and get him onto the boat and wrapped in a pillow case for safety, whilst Trevor swan out to help cut the line from the vegetation.
Once back at the back, rescuers checked the swan over but because of how inter-woven the line was we decided to bring the swan back to our Rescue Centre just along the road at Whitesmith to better assess the line and whether it had causes and lasting damage.
“At our Casualty Centre I was able to unwrapped the line which was all through the feathers, I had to cut the line in several places to make it easier to remove, but there must have been at least 10 metres of line which we removed” said Chris.
After a thorough check over the swan had luckily not caused an serious injuries so was returned to the river as it had a partner present on the river.
“This is completely inappropriate fishing line to be using on such a river as this and if a 10kg swan can’t break the line then it clearly isn’t suitable for use on a river” said Trevor.
WRAS were called out by the Keeper of the River who is going to speak to local fisherman. “Most fishermen are very responsible and I’ve known them to swim out and remove caught line from bushes to prevent it causing problems to our wildlife, but sadly not everyone is so responsible. We would really line anglers to think twice before casting near vegetation and over hanging trees and bushes where line is likely to become caught up and use an appropriate strength of line for the environment too”.
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