Volunteer rescuers from East Sussex Wildlife Rescue & Ambulance Service were called out to a bird seen entangled in fishing line at the end of Eastbourne Pier today.
Rescuer Keith and Ches attended and found the bird to be a Guillemot. The black and white sea bird, which people often mistake for a penguin, was quite a way from the pier but attached to one of the metal supports by fishing line.
“Our longest reach and rescue pole is 15 metres but this poor bird must have been at least 30 if not 40 metre away” said rescuer Keith Ring.
Rescuers were able to use their longest reach and rescue pole with a hook on the end to reach down and lift the line up to the rescuers at the top of the pier. They were then able to pull the bird closer to the pier where a net could them be used to lift the bird up to them and the line cut.
“There must have been at least 25 metres of line attached to the guillemot, which was constantly trying to swim away and getting very tired in the process,” said Ches Rogers.
Rescuers walked back to WRAS’s waiting ambulance at the entrance to the pier before returning to WRAS’s Casualty Centre at Whitesmith near Lewes.
On admission WRAS’s vet Lourdes Cortes Saez examined the Guillemot and found fishing gear deeply embedded in the wing. A general anaesthetic had to be used so that an x-ray could be taken and the gear remove safely.
The bird was placed into one of WRAS’s recovery incubators and is now being closely monitored.
This is the third seabird which WRAS has been called to this year attached by lengths of fishing line at the end of Eastbourne Pier. “Rescuers have been lucky so far that they have been able to reach and safe all but one of the birds. Sadly a gull earlier this year drowned before rescuers could arrive to attempt rescue, but this guillemot and a previous gull were luckily saved” said Trevor Weeks Founder of East Sussex WRAS.
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