East Sussex Wildlife Rescue has e-mailed East Sussex County Council the following:
On Wednesday 24th August we were called to rescue one of the cygnets at Ditchling Common lake due to fishing line in its throat. Whilst there we spotted the dead body of the remaining lone parent floating in the water. As a result of the lone parent being found dead we have removed the final cygnet too.
The dead parents body was removed and taken to our vets for an x-ray. They clearly show the swan to have been shot twice with air guns as well as a fishing hook in the body and a recently broken wing. The body x-ray was taken with the neck resting on the back and shows the two pellets, a hook and a recently fractured wing which is healing. The second x-ray is of the neck just below the head.
Walkers at the lake have mentioned that within the past couple of weeks a walker allowed their dog to attack the swan which may have resulted in the fracture and we are waiting on an opinion from the Swan Sanctuary’s vet on the damaged caused by the air gun pellets. As it is possible to class swans as crown property it may be possible to prove criminal damage if the pellets can be matched to a weapon, so have put in a report to Sussex Police.
East Sussex WRAS are looking at issuing a reward of £1000 for information which directly leads to the conviction of the person responsible for causing criminal damage to this swan. We will be issuing a press release within the week.
This site is the worst we have encountered in terms of the number of calls we received for fishing tackle and dog attacks. Every time we have to get in the lake for a rescue we are tripping over line, and have even had hooks embedded in our dry suits too. Action needs to be taken to manage the fishing better and clean up after irresponsible persons fishing. We are well aware that a number of regular fishmen at the site are as frustrated as we are over the irresponsible fishermen, but if the site can't be improved then fishing should be banned all together to prevent the degree of suffering which has been caused at this site.
Sadly a litter pick of the area is not good enough to improve the problem, it needs a team of people to get in the lake and clear it properly as well as clearing over hanging branches to help prevent line and hooks becoming snagged on branches, and restricting where fishing takes place. We would also recommend that the area directly around the pond should be fenced off and notices erected saying dogs should be kept on a lead within this area.
Trevor Weeks MBE
East Sussex Wildlife Rescue & Ambulance Service (WRAS)
Office: 01825-873003 Mobile: 07931523958.Share this!