Rescuers swims out to rescue tangled gull

Rescuers swims out to rescue tangled gull

An RSPCA rescuer was branded a 'soggy hero' after swimming into the middle of a lake to free a gull who was tangled in a discarded fishing line.

Inspector Dave Grant was called to Singleton Lake, Ashford, on 2 February to reports of a gull tangled in fishing line. 

He said: "When we arrived we could see the black headed gull who was tangled in the fishing line hanging from a tree in the middle of the lake. I swam out to carefully untangle the bird and then swam him to shore where my colleague removed all of the line and boxed him up safely."

Inspector Grant rescuing the gull © RSPCAAnimal rescue officer Tina Nash, who went to assist, said: "Dave was a soggy hero! He even swam back into the middle of the lake to remove as much of the line as possible."

The gull was taken to Mallydams Woods Wildlife Centre, in East Sussex, for x-rays and rehabilitation. 

He was kept in for monitoring as he was displaying signs of a dropped wing but, after almost a month receiving expert care, he was cleared for release and staff set him free at Pett Level, East Sussex, on Monday 28 February.

Discarded fishing litter can be very hazardous to our wildlife and we receive around 3,000 calls each year about animals affected by angling litter. Incidents include birds swallowing fishing hooks and entanglements in fishing line, often leading to death.

Water birds are the most affected with the species with the highest numbers of calls being swans, followed by geese, ducks and gulls.

The majority of anglers do dispose of their litter properly and it is frustrating that those who don't possibly don't realise how dangerous it is to animals.

Discarded line, in particular, is a terrible hazard for wildlife, particularly as it can be almost invisible. 

The gull recovered and was released © RSPCAIn the hope of preventing future casualties, those who enjoy fishing are being reminded of the dangers that are posed to wildlife from discarded equipment and encouraged to follow the Angling Trust's Take 5 campaign and make use of the Anglers National Line Recycling Scheme to dispose of their waste tackle and line.

Angling litter recycling points are now located at our four wildlife centres in Norfolk, East Sussex, Shropshire and Somerset, as well as hundreds of other sites throughout the UK.

Top tips include for anglers include:

  • Take old fishing line and spools to recycling points in local tackle shops or fisheries. Your nearest recycling point can be found on the Anglers National Line Recycling Scheme (ANLRS) website. Alternatively, old fishing line can be posted to the address on the ANLRS page.
  • Be aware of surrounding trees ¿ discarded line caught in foliage causes problems for wildlife.
  • Use a bait box and don't leave bait unattended - always remove it from the hook and put it in a safe place.
  • Safely dispose of any litter you see, even if it's not your own.

If you come across an animal that has been injured or become tangled in fishing litter please contact our emergency hotline on 0300 1234 999.