RSPCA rescues swan tangled up in fishing line in Exeter

This swan had got caught up in fishing line but will swim again, thanks to the RSPCA. Credit: RSPCA

A swan that had become tangled in fishing line has been rescued by the RSPCA before being released back into the water at Exeter Quay.

The bird was spotted by passers-by who called the animal charity on Sunday 15 November.

RSPCA inspector Marije Zwager says, "This swan was found with fishing line and a float wrapped around his leg, which had sadly left him struggling.

"He was spotted in time and a member of the public kindly called for help and I was able to catch him and remove the items. Thankfully, there was no hook or injury so I was able to release him straight away.

"Other animals aren’t so lucky and sometimes their injuries are just too severe for them to survive. We’d plead with people out fishing to make sure they take their waste home and dispose of it responsibly to avoid any other animals suffering."

The RSPCA was able to remove the fishing line and float safely - other wildlife has not been so lucky. Credit: RSPCA

The RSPCA says calls to the emergency line reporting wildlife injured by angling litter such as fishing line, weights and hooks, rose by 48% during summer 2020. 

It suspects that the easing of lockdown saw a rise in people taking up outdoor activities such as fishing, causing an excess of discarded angling litter. 

The RSPCA is particularly concerned that the increase may be due to new and inexperienced anglers taking up the activity, as most experienced anglers are very responsible when it comes to wildlife and taking care of their equipment.

Top tips for anglers include:

  • Take old fishing line and spools to recycling points in local tackle shops or fisheries. Your nearest recycling point can be found on the Anglers National Line Recycling Scheme (ANLRS) website. Alternatively, old fishing line can be posted to the address on the ANLRS page.

  • Be aware of surrounding trees – discarded line caught in leaves causes problems for wildlife.

  • Do not leave bait unattended – always remove it from the hook and put it in a safe place.

  • Use a bait box.

  • Dispose of any litter you see, even if it is not your own. 

There is more information about disposing of fishing litter properly on the RSPCA website.