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13th June 2019

Please put your litter in the bin says RSPCA Cymru

BY: Nathan Spackman

There is a devastating impact that litter has on our wildlife and RSPCA has been contacted after hearing that there was a seagull entangled in 3 barbs, which had attached a fishing element disguised as a fish for bait.

An RSPCA spokesperson has reported that they were "the single most distressed bird" she has dealt with in nine years of service.
When they attended the scene they found the bird in a badly injured state and was being pecked by other birds. This was the detrimental effects on someone not disposing of their fishing litter appropriately.

The litter had caused numerous injuries to the bird including the feet, beak and the pecking from other birds as a result of this.

This distressed gull was found on King Edwards Road in the city.

Fishing Equipment and images captured of incident

The gull had to be transferred to Gower Bird Hospital, to which they had to remove the metal work and administer pain relief and antibiotics.
At present it is not known if it will survive the ordeal that it has endured however the initial recovery process has seemed to be a positive reaction.

Gemma Cooper, RSPCA inspector, said: “I am so angry about the needless suffering this poor gull has endured because someone couldn’t be bothered to discard their litter appropriately.

“Fishing litter can have a devastating impact on wild birds – and this poor herring gull is the latest example. Thankfully, a kind-hearted member of the public spotted the bird's plight and immediately contacted us.

“This poor gull probably thought he was in for a delicious snack – with the discarded hard body lure disguised as a fish. Instead, he ended up badly entangled and in excruciating pain.

“Struggling to get free has only made the gull’s injuries worse. One barb pierced his beak, meaning he was unable to open his mouth, while another tied his feet meaning he was unable to move properly

“When I arrived, two magpies were pecking at the helpless gull. It was a shocking sight, and the single most distressed bird I have tended to in nine years with the RSPCA.

"Our thanks to go Gower Bird Hospital for their professionalism and expertise. They were able to remove the metalwork, and provide pain relief. We just hope this poor gull survives such an unnecessary, painful experience the fishing litter caused.”

The animal welfare charity continues to highlight how fishing litter - including hooks, weights and line - cause injury and, in many cases, death to thousands of wild animals across England and Wales every year.

Inspector Cooper added: “Our advice is simple. Please take unwanted fishing line home, don't leave baited tackle unattended, be aware of litter caught in foliage and use a bait box.

“Disposing safely of unwanted fishing litter helps save the lives of wild animals. We know most anglers are responsible and do this - but sadly that isn't always the case – as this poor Swansea herring gull found out.”

The RSPCA asks that all those who enjoy fishing to follow the Angling Trust’s ‘Take 5’ campaign and make use of the recycling scheme to dispose of their waste tackle.

More information on the impacts fishing litter can have on wildlife can be found on the RSPCA website.

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