The dangers fishing litter pose to Wales’ wildlife has again come under the spotlight, after the RSPCA raced to the rescue of a troubled swan at Pen-Y-Fan Pond in Crumlin.
RSPCA Cymru was alerted after a member of the public spotted the swan with fishing line caught around their legs and back.
Officers from the charity continue to respond to animal welfare emergencies amid the coronavirus outbreak. The RSPCA says the incident acts as another reminder as to the dangers fishing litter pose to Wales’ animals.
Animal collection officer (ACO) Stephanie Davidson was able to attend the Crumlin pond, reach the swan and safely remove the litter. Fortunately, the swan was not injured by the line – but the RSPCA say the animal was at “serious risk” of further entanglement.
Restrictions on people’s lives during the Covid-19 crisis means hobby fishing should have stopped at this time – but this swan’s plight could show, the RSPCA say, that discarded litter remains a risk to animals for a very long period of time.
Wildlife entangled in line may suffer a slow death due to starvation, while discarded hooks and weights can also cause serious and even fatal injury.
The RSPCA urges all those who enjoy fishing – outside of the coronavirus restrictions – to protect wildlife by following the Angling Trust’s Take 5 campaign and make use of the recycling scheme to dispose of their waste tackle and line.
ACO Davidson said: “This poor swan had a lot of fishing wire around the back and legs. Fortunately, the swan wasn’t injured – but was at serious risk of entanglement, had a kind-hearted member of the public not spotted the bird and got in touch.
“We can’t know when this fishing litter was discarded – but with the Covid-19 outbreak restricting recreational activities, it could have been some while ago. This shows how things like dropped wire can remain a risk to animals for a very long time, indeed.
“Fortunately, the majority of anglers are very responsible and dispose of their waste properly. Sadly, it is so frustrating that some don’t do this – and place animals like this swan in serious danger.
“After safely removing and disposing of the wire, the swan was able to be returned straight to the pond – but we know not all birds caught in such situations are as lucky.
“It was great to be able to secure a happy ending for the bird, with RSPCA officers still on the frontline dealing with emergency situations amid the coronavirus outbreak. However, as this crisis intensifies, our animal rescue teams are being stretched to their limit – so we’re asking the public to donate what they can to help keep us on the road.”
During this difficult time, the RSPCA’s priority is to help animals most in need. Please visit the RSPCA’s website for advice, information and support.