Swan with a fishing hook in her beak and tongue is rescued by the RSPCA and fire crew

PUBLISHED: 10:59 05 March 2018 | UPDATED: 11:12 05 March 2018

RSPCA battle through the weather to rescue a swan at Waterbeach

RSPCA battle through the weather to rescue a swan at Waterbeach

Archant

A female swan with a fishing hook caught in her beak and tongue was rescued from a slow and painful death after being tracked for a week by the RSPCA and fire crew.

RSPCA battle through the weather to rescue a swan at WaterbeachRSPCA battle through the weather to rescue a swan at Waterbeach

The rescue has prompted an urgent plea for anglers to discard hooks properly and be careful when using equipment to stop similar tragedies to unsuspecting wild life.

The RSPCA and Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service, managed to catch the swan, who had been escaping capture at Bottisham Lock, after a call reporting the bird with a hook in her mouth and a line trailing behind her.

Inspector Jon Knight said: “Despite her ordeal the swan is doing well. I took her to RSPCA East Winch Wildlife Centre where the hook was removed.

“Staff will continue to monitor and give her pain relief, and she will be x-rayed to check that she has not consumed any lead.

RSPCA battle through the weather to rescue a swan at WaterbeachRSPCA battle through the weather to rescue a swan at Waterbeach

“It is hoped if she continues to improve that she could be returned to her partner next week.”

Jane Folly, animal welfare officer, said: “We spent a number of days trying to catch this swan, but she was still very mobile and would head off to the middle of the water where we couldn’t get her.

“We are so grateful that the fire service were able to come out to rescue this swan as we just wouldn’t have been able to get her without them.

“It was a pretty chilly day and it was blizzard conditions at some points, but we all soon warmed up once we knew that we had managed to catch this beautiful bird and helped her.

“If she hadn’t have been caught it’s likely she would have eventually died a slow painful death.”

A fire service spokesman added: “The crew worked closely with the RSPCA staff to plan the safest way to help the swan.

“Wearing specialist in-water dry suits the crew used a rescue boat to retrieve the swan and bring her to the river bank, safely leaving her with the RSPCA staff.”

Insp Knight added: “Sadly we see a large amount of birds being brought into us with these kind of injuries.

“Most anglers do make the effort to retrieve and take home all their fishing line and tackle but sadly some are not so careful, which result in incidents like this.”

The fire crew’s Cambridge White Watch boat was launched while two RSPCA officers, Jane Folly and Inspector Jon Knight, stayed on the bank to catch the bird.

• Take unwanted fishing line home and cut it into pieces before putting in the bin.

•● Be aware of surrounding trees . Discarded line caught in foliage causes problems for wildlife.

●• Don’t leave bait unattended. Always remove from the hook and put in safe place.

•● Use a bait box.

●• Dispose of any litter you see, even if it’s not your own.

• If you see a wild animal you think needs help call the RSPCA 24-hour emergency line on 0300 1234 999.

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