Leicester Mercury

Rescuers unable to save swan impaled on hooks


- By ADRIAN TROUGHTON adrian.troughton@reachplc.com @adriantrou­ghton

A SWAN had to be put down after it got large fishing hooks stuck through its tongue and wing.

Firefighte­rs rescued the male mute swan from the River Soar in Leicester on Sunday but it already had maggots in open wounds caused by the hooks.

RSPCA officials took the swan, which was entangled in fishing line attached to the hooks, to the vets after it was rescued near Frog Island but it was too badly injured to be saved.

Animal rescue officer Rebecca Frost was called to the river between Soar Lane and St Margaret’s Way Bridge at 11am.

She tried to catch the swan using a pole but was unable to do so safely and called for the assistance of the fire service water team.

Firefighte­rs spent about an hour at the scene before they captured the swan and handed it over.

“The swan was obviously distressed and would have been unable to feed with a hook in his tongue,” Rebecca said.

“He also had a hook in his wing which had become infected and contained maggots. Then there were cuts around his neck suggesting he had been entangled in a fishing line

“It is so sad to see a swan in such distress and I am grateful to the member of the public who spotted him as he would have suffered a slow and lingering death had we not rescued him.

“I would also like to thank the fire service for its assistance. We work closely with the emergency services on many rescues and we are always grateful.”

Fire service incident commander Dave Hurst, crew manager at Eastern station, said after they got a call from the RSPCA, two firefighte­rs from the technical rescue unit at Southern station went on the river to catch the bird.

“Although the swan could not fly it could still paddle and was obviously in great distress,” he said.

“In the end, the team grabbed the bird and brought it on to land.

“We cut the line to free the swan’s head and we handed it over.”

Rebecca said: “Fishing litter in our waterways is a major problem and it is so damaging to wildlife.

“I would urge people to be responsibl­e and remember to take home any litter if you go fishing – discarded lines and hooks can easily snag water birds and other wildlife, causing terrible injuries and suffering.”

Last year, the RSPCA rescued 678 animals from fishing litter, of which 463 were wild birds.

It said most anglers are very responsibl­e when disposing of their litter, but it only takes one careless person to endanger the life of an animal.

The RSPCA asks all those who enjoy fishing to join the Angling Trust’s Take 5 campaign and make use of the Anglers National Line recycling scheme.

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 ?? FIRE SERVICE/RSPCA ?? MERCY MISSION: Fire crew try to catch the injured swan, below
FIRE SERVICE/RSPCA MERCY MISSION: Fire crew try to catch the injured swan, below

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