RSPCA treat swan with three fishing hooks embedded in foot and neck

An x-ray showing the two hooks in the female Mute Swan's foot. Photo: RSPCA.
An x-ray showing the two hooks in the female Mute Swan's foot. Photo: RSPCA.
The RSPCA has reminded anglers to dispose of fishing litter properly, after rescuing and treating a Mute Swan with three hooks lodged in its body.

The adult female bird was rescued by the charity from Norwich, Norfolk, last Thursday (13 October) and taken to its East Winch Wildlife Centre nearby. The centre's manager Alison Charles said: “She had badly swollen and infected feet caused by two fishing hooks that were deeply embedded in her right foot. While our vet was examining her, she found another hook embedded in her neck.

“Luckily, we managed to remove all three hooks while the swan was under anaesthetic and she is now recuperating from her operation. She is on antibiotics and pain relief, and will have to rest until her wounds have fully healed.

“She’s very lucky that someone spotted her injuries and alerted us as she must have been very distressed.”

The RSPCA has urged people once more to dispose of any fishing litter properly. Every year it receives thousands of calls relating to animals that are tangled in fishing line or have injuries from hooks. In 2015, the charity received 3,683 calls relating to fishing litter, 131 of which came from Norfolk.

The Mute Swan undergoing treatment by being given painkillers. Photo: RSPCA.

The animal welfare charity has asked people to take any unwanted fishing line home with them and cut it into pieces before throwing it away, as well as requested that anyone who may have discarded fishing litter to dispose of it correctly. Wildlife experts have also urged fishermen to use a bait box, never to leave bait unattended and always to remove it from the hook and put it in a safe place.

“This poor swan shows just how damaging discarded fishing litter can be for wildlife and the dangers it poses for animals and birds,” Alison added. “All we ask is that people take responsibility for their litter and dispose of it properly – they could save a life.”

In an emergency, the public are asked to contact the RSPCA’s 24-hour cruelty line on 0300 1234 999. If you would like to help staff at East Winch help swans, please look at the centre’s Amazon wish list online

The RSPCA is a charity and relies on public donations to exist. To assist its inspectors in carrying out their vital work you can text HELP to 78866 to give £3 (Texts cost £3 + one standard network rate message).
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