RSPCA Appeal after Cygnet Found with Fishing Hooks Embedded in Leg in Sunderland
The RSPCA has issued an urgent appeal for help after two cygnets were discovered with fishing hooks deeply embedded in their legs. Concerned members of the public reported the injured birds, who are approximately seven months old and part of a family of six, after spotting them at Lake Silkworth in Sunderland. One of the cygnets was unsteady and unable to walk properly.
RSPCA officers Lindsay Avery and Helen Nedley managed to capture one of the cygnets and swiftly took it to Westway Veterinary Group in Houghton to have the hook safely removed. Fortunately, the young goose only sustained a small hole in its leg, which was not infected, and was successfully reunited with its family.
Three days later, the second cygnet was caught by an inspector with the assistance of regular visitors to the area. It was taken to Eden Hill Veterinary Surgery in West Pelton, where the hook was removed. The cygnet was then released, but the veterinarian noted slight swelling and is closely monitoring its progress.
These rescues, which took place on September 28 and 30, highlight the concerning issue of fishing litter. In 2022, the RSPCA received 1,245 calls regarding fishing litter in England and Wales, with a staggering 614 calls made between June and September alone. Lake Silkworth has also been a location where incidents of fishing litter have been reported in the past.
RSPCA Chief Inspector Lindsay Avery expressed her concern, stating, “Unfortunately, we are seeing an alarming number of animals affected by fishing litter. While many, like these cygnets, can be saved, others require long-term care and rehabilitation. Some are not as fortunate, and their injuries or the stress and exhaustion from their ordeal prove to be too much.”
Avery urges anglers to take responsibility for their equipment and dispose of waste tackle and line safely by participating in the Angling Trust’s Take 5 campaign and utilizing recycling schemes. Simple best practices include taking old fishing line and spools to recycling points at local tackle shops or fisheries, being mindful of surrounding trees to prevent entanglement, not leaving bait unattended, using reusable bait containers, and picking up any litter observed, regardless of its origin.
For more advice on what to do if you encounter an injured wild animal, please visit the RSPCA’s website or watch their instructional video.
Q: What should I do if I find an injured wild animal?
A: Visit the RSPCA’s website or watch their instructional video for guidance on how to handle the situation appropriately.
Q: How can I dispose of fishing tackle and line?
A: Take old fishing line and spools to recycling points at local tackle shops or fisheries. You can find your nearest recycling point on the Angler National Line Recycling Scheme (ANLRS) website. Alternatively, you can post old fishing line to the ANLRS address provided.
Q: What are some best practices for anglers to prevent harm to wildlife?
A: Be mindful of surrounding trees to avoid lines getting entangled, never leave bait unattended, use reusable bait containers instead of tins, and always pick up any litter, even if it’s not your own.
Q: How can I contribute to the Angling Trust’s Take 5 campaign?
A: By responsibly disposing of waste tackle and line through recycling schemes, you can support the Take 5 campaign and help protect wildlife from the dangers of fishing litter.