Cygnet required surgery after being caught in fishing line

Volunteer rescuers from East Sussex Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance Service rescuers were called out by Eastbourne’s "Swan Watch" yesterday (Wednesday) after a cygnet was seen acting strangely and gagging with line hanging out its mouth.

WRAS rescuers were on site fairly quickly and luckily the cygnet came out of the water and rescuers were able to catch the cygnet fairly quickly. The line was no longer in the mouth but entering a puncture wound at the back of the neck.

"The wound was fairly unusual and the Swan Sanctuary has said that the most likely way this swan has became caught in this way is by an inconsiderate angler casing a hook in the direction of the swans and cygnets" said Trevor Weeks, WRAS Rescue Co-ordintor, "I know that most anglers are considerate and respect wildlife but it is clear that some people at Langney Pond, Eastbourne do not."

WRAS deals with over 40 fishing line incidents a year in the Eastbourne area alone and more incidents further a field. Only a few weeks ago a family of swans from Newhaven had to be rescued and taken into care, up at the Shepperton National Swan Sanctuary, as the dad had swallowed a discarded hook which had caused internal bleeding. "This swan was bring up blood and eventually started excreting blood too. The swan was rushed to the Swan Sanctuary and treated by their vet. After several very worrying days the swan started to recover and was returned to Newhaven fit and healthy" said Trevor.

The cygnet from Langney pond is being treated by vets this morning (Thursday) and will need a small surgical procedure to remove the line and hook which is hidden under the subcutaneous layers of skin near the puncture wound. The cygnet may have to stay at the Sanctuary for a further 5 days to receive antibiotic treatment, this means the cygnet may not be able to be returned it its family as there is only a 48 hour window to return this youngster to his parents before they will reject him.

"This poor cygnet may now be may homeless and loose its family as a result of some inconsiderable angler. Who ever did this is a pest and should not be allowed to fish at all" said Trevor, "these types of incidents are completely avoidable."

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Press Contacts: Trevor Weeks, East Sussex WRAS - 07931 523958 (private) and Steve Knight or Dot Beeson, Swan Sanctuary - 07714 292 744 (private).

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