The RSPCA is reminding fishermen to dispose of fishing litter properly after rescuing and treating a mute swan with three hooks lodged in its body.
The adult female bird was rescued by the RSPCA from Norwich on Thursday, October 13 and taken to the charity’s East Winch Wildlife Centre.
East Winch manager Alison Charles said: “She had badly swollen and infected feet caused by two fishing hooks that were deeply embedded in her right foot.
“While our vet was examining her, she found another hook embedded in her neck. Luckily we managed to remove all three hooks while the swan was under anaesthetic and she is now recuperating from her operation.
“She is on antibiotics and pain relief, and will have to rest until her wounds have fully healed.
“She’s very lucky that someone spotted her injuries and alerted us as she must have been very distressed.”
The RSPCA is urging people to dispose properly of any fishing litter, as it receives thousands of calls every year relating to animals that are tangled in fishing line or have injuries from fishing litter.
In 2015, the charity received 3,683 calls relating to fishing litter – 131 of which came from Norfolk.
The animal welfare charity asks people to take any unwanted fishing line home with them and cut it into pieces before throwing it away and asks anyone who may see discarded fishing litter to dispose of it.
Wildlife experts have also urged fishermen to use a bait box, never to leave bait unattended and always to remove it from the hook and put it in a safe place.
“This poor swan shows just how damaging discarded fishing litter can be for wildlife and the dangers it poses for animals and birds,” Alison added.
“All we ask is that people take responsibility for their litter and dispose of it properly – and they could save a life.”
In an emergency, contact the RSPCA’s 24-hour cruelty line on 0300 1234 999.