A wildlife sanctuary boss has hit out at an “irresponsible” fisherman who left a cygnet to die after it swallowed a fishing line with the rod still attached.
The young swan now faces a life-or-death operation to remove the line and artificial fishing bait, known as a lure, after it was found sitting on the canal outside Moira Furnace and Country Park.
Lindsay Newell, of Etwall-based Linjoy Wildlife Sanctuary and Rescue, has taken in the one-year-old cygnet after she was called out on Friday, October 11.
Miss Newell said in a Facebook post: “This poor cygnet is to have major surgery after an irresponsible human failed to reported this cygnet swallowing a lure, lead or steel line, elastic line and then snapping the rod.
“We were called out on Friday morning after this poor swan was seen sitting on the canal outside Moira Furnace with the line down his neck and part of the fishing rod still attached.
“Sadly the lure is in the gizzard and the line is in the digestive tract. This can be seen on an x-ray.
“Our vet tried over the weekend to tube feed him in the hope it would move along itself once the longer bit of line was removed but this hasn’t happened and the lure is acting as a foreign body, resulting in a reduced appetite.
“The surgery is extremely risky but we have authorised our vet to go ahead if it will give the swan a chance.
“If there is damage or the swan’s condition deteriorates under the anaesthetic then we have also given permission for euthanasia.
“This swan is otherwise healthy and less than a year old and his life may already be over if the worst should happen.
“This post isn’t to bash all fisherman because the majority are responsible, take their rubbish and line home and report injured wildlife to the bailiffs.
“Accidental swallowing of line may happen, but the sooner it is reported, the better chance the bird has.”
A spokesman for Moira Furnace and Country Park said: “Such a shame to hear this.
“Once again, a plea to the small minority of anglers who fail to clear up after themselves to take responsibility for their actions to help look after the wildlife.
“The majority of those that fish on the canal do so in a respectful manner and clean up after themselves and we thank them for it.”