'Great white' caught on fishing line in Cheshire


The RSPCA had to carry out a water rescue after a Great Egret became entangled in fishing line at Thornycroft Hall near Macclesfield, Cheshire.

The bird was unable to free itself at the site and concerned anglers contacted the animal welfare charity after spotting the distressed egret. Despite some injuries, the bird is doing well and has now been released back into the wild at Burton Mere Wetlands RSPB reserve following a full recovery.

It's thought that the Great Egret was trapped for 24 hours (RSPCA).

The egret, a male, had fishing line attached to its leg and around its body, which was caught up in some reeds. It’s estimated that it had been stranded in such a state for around 24 hours before being reported. Last week [Wednesday 27 March], RSPCA Animal Collection Officer (ACO) Emma Dwan was called to the scene, but noticed the bird was too far out in the water for her to get to it.

However, Animal Welfare Officer Steve Wickham was able to carry out a water rescue – with the lake not too deep, he waded out and freed the trapped egret. Despite having a sore wing and leg, the bird is recovering at the RSPCA's Stapeley Grange Animal Centre, near Nantwich.

ACO Dwan said the incident serves as a reminder to anglers to safely dispose of netting, lines and hooks: "We are grateful to the anglers who saw this bird in distress and contacted us. They were annoyed because someone had left this rubbish which obviously gives responsible anglers like themselves a bad name.

"Fishing litter in our waterways is a major problem and it is so damaging to wildlife. I would urge people to be responsible and remember to take home any litter if you go fishing – discarded lines and hooks can easily snag water birds and other wildlife, causing terrible injuries."