RSPCA Cymru is warning of the dangers fishing litter can pose to wildlife after a fishing hook became caught on a gull’s beak.

The herring gull was spotted on Llandudno beach on Monday (29 May) with a fishing hook stuck on his bill.

RSPCA inspector Mike Pugh happened to be in the area dealing with another incident and was able to respond to the call within minutes.

“I found the gull struggling to get away from the incoming waves, but was unable to do so due to six feet of trailing line attached to a heavy fishing weight that was wedged between two rocks,” he said.

Gull injured fishing line Llandudno 30May19“Luckily the gull was found not to have completely swallowed the hook, which had penetrated through the side of his bill. The gull was cut free and the hook removed.

“None the worse from his ordeal and after some initial care the gull was released. At this time of year, gulls and other birds have dependent young so it is all the more important that they are returned to the wild as soon as possible.”

RSPCA Cymru is urging anglers to take tackle home as it poses a serious hazard to wildlife.

Inspector Pugh added: “This is a reminder of how damaging discarded fishing litter can be. Most anglers make the effort to retrieve and take home all their fishing line and tackle but some are sadly not so careful.

“From taking unwanted fishing line home, to disposing safely of rubbish, the RSPCA produces a wealth of advice on what to do with fishing litter to prevent situations like this from occurring – so we are reminding anglers to be careful.”

Deaths to mammals and birds from raging infections inflicted by discarded fishing hooks or from deep wounds where plastic has cut into their body are frequently seen by the RSPCA. Strangulation or choking by old fishing line are also common causes of death, as are internal blockages and poisoning, caused by ingested materials.

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