A heron had a lucky escape after being found hanging by his wing, caught by fishing line, in Llansamlet.
RSPCA Cymru has issued a reminder about the dangers of fishing litter to wildlife, after teaming-up with firefighters to rescue the distressed bird.
The animal welfare charity was alerted after the heron was spotted on Fendrod Lake on Monday (16 December).
Deep waters and access challenges mean the RSPCA had to enlist the support of the Mid and West Wales Wales Fire & Rescue service.
An RSPCA officer has praised the “dedication and commitment” of the firefighters to the trapped heron – and say the incident is a timely reminder about the risks fishing litter poses to wild animals if not disposed of appropriately.
Fire service personnel initially tried to wade through the deep waters to reach the heron, but ultimately had to use a boat to access the bird and set her free.
The bird was transferred to Gower Bird Hospital for rehabilitation and care where they removed all fishing litter and provided rehydration fluids and medication for pain relief and inflammation.
Fortunately, the heron made a swift recovery. Video footage captures the moment the bird was rescued, days before a return to the wild on Wednesday (18 December).
RSPCA animal welfare officer Paula Milton said: “We’re so relieved it was a happy ending for this heron – and we’re so grateful to the dedication and commitment of firefighters in supporting the rescue of this bird, as well as our friends at Gower Bird Hospital for providing much needed care.
“This case is a reminder that fishing litter poses so many problems for Wales’ wildlife. Fishing line had trapped this heron and left him hanging upside-down from his wing, in what must have been a terrifying and painful ordeal.
“Clearly, this incident was totally avoidable if the fishing line had been disposed of properly. We know most anglers are very responsible and deal with their litter – but sadly one careless act like this can endanger the life of an animal.
“RSPCA Cymru would like to remind anglers to observe the Angling Trust’s ‘Take 5’ campaign; and use recycling schemes to dispose of waste tackle and line. It’s really easy and will save the life of Wales’ wonderful wildlife.
“Thankfully, Gower Bird Hospital were able to rehabilitate this heron, who fortunately could later be returned to where he belongs – the wild.”
Information on the impacts fishing litter has on Wales’ wildlife can be found on the RSPCA website.