Un­flap­pable saviours come to swan’s res­cue

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Drama At Singleton Lake - By Molly Mile­ham-Chappell

Peo­ple sprang into ac­tion af­ter an in­jured swan was spot­ted on Sin­gle­ton Lake last Fri­day night.

Dog walk­ers and res­i­dents saw the dis­tressed bird had a fish­ing line wrapped around its body and a hook stuck down its throat.

Velta Lacis, who was out walk­ing her dogs and was one of the first res­i­dents on the scene, said: “The dogs were very sub­dued. They must have known some­thing was wrong. “It was quite hard to watch.” For­tu­nately, a lady wear­ing a top with a logo for the Royal So­ci­ety for the Pro­tec­tion of Birds (RSPB) walked past, and Velta called for help.

The woman, named Anna, a vol­un­teer for the char­ity, man­aged to ap­proach the bird.

Ms Lacis said: “Around four peo­ple helped. One lady brought a blan­ket and a man got his car to take it to the vets.

“It had a fish­ing line around it’s neck and body. The hook had gone down its neck – there was quite a lot of blood.

“The fish­ing line was very thin. We could barely see it.

“The lady from RSPB calmed the an­i­mal down. Even the swan’s mate came over and watched. I think it re­alised we were help­ing it. “We were all a bit dis­tressed.” Ms Lacis filmed the peo­ple help­ing and posted it on so­cial me­dia, where scores of Sin­gle­ton ex­pressed con­cern for the bird’s wel­fare.

Chandi Dheerasekara helped trans­port the swan to Bar­row Hill Ve­teri­nary Hos­pi­tal, while his daugh­ter, Mi­noli, also cre­ated a poster to raise aware­ness of what hap­pened.

At the hos­pi­tal in Maid­stone Road, Ash­ford, vet Lind­say White and ve­teri­nary nurse Kirsty Streator op­er­ated on the swan un­der gen­eral anaes­thetic to re­move the hook stuck in his phar­ynx.

Mrs White said: “We kept him in overnight be­cause he was a bit dopey af­ter the anes­thetic.

“The pro­ce­dure took about 45 min­utes in the end be­cause of his mouth be­ing small, but I don’t have any wor­ries. I think he’ll be okay.”

The swan was re­leased onto the lake on Satur­day morn­ing.

Mrs White added: “We could see the fe­male swan when we went back to re­lease him.

“It’s a nice thing to be able to re­lease them.

“They’re nasty fish­ing lines. I have never seen this in wildlife be­fore. It’s rare to see it in a swan.

“Un­for­tu­nately, th­ese are things need to be re­moved so give the RSPCA or lo­cal vets a call.

“It can just be an ac­ci­dent, but if ev­ery­one takes their rub­bish home as much as pos­si­ble it min­imises the risk.”

From left, Sarah O’Keese, RSPB vol­un­teer Anna, and Velta Lacis, the women who helped save the swan. The bird was treated at Bar­row Hill Ve­teri­nary Hos­pi­tal, Ash­ford, where it had a fish­ing line and hook re­moved from its throat

Top, the male swan is re­united with its part­ner. Left, Chandi Dheerasekara, who took the swan to the vets, with his fam­ily. Rght, vet Lind­say White op­er­ated on the bird

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