Unflappable saviours come to swan’s rescue
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