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Swan saved from starving to death after getting fishing hook stuck in its beak and tongue

By Adrian Curtis

Jane Folley, from the RSPCA, releases the swan at Bottisham Lock, near Waterbeach. Picture: Keith Heppell
Jane Folley, from the RSPCA, releases the swan at Bottisham Lock, near Waterbeach. Picture: Keith Heppell

RSPCA and Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service worked together to save the bird

A swan was rescued by the RSPCA and firefighters after a fishing hook became embedded in its beak and tongue.

The bird was unable to feed itself and would have starved to death.

But the animal charity, working with Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service, managed to catch the stricken bird after days of being outwitted by it.

The RSPCA was called on Saturday, February 24 to reports of a swan at Bottisham Lock near Waterbeach with a fishing hook caught in its mouth.

Throughout the weekend and the week, officers attended the location and attempted to catch the injured bird but it kept heading out to the middle of the water where it could not be reached.

In the end, officers enlisted the help of the fire and rescue team who sent a boat to help rescue the bird.

The boat was launched by Cambridge White Watch and the two RSPCA officers Jane Folly and Inspector Jon Knight stayed on the bank to catch the bird.

Once caught, the female swan was examined and it was clear that the hook had gone through its beak and tongue - making it impossible for it to feed.

Inspector Knight said: “Despite her ordeal the swan is doing well. I took her to RSPCA East Winch wildlife centre where the hook was removed.

“Staff will continue to monitor and give her pain relief, and she will be X-rayed to check that she has not consumed any lead. She is doing well and it is hoped if she continues to improve that she could be returned to her partner next week.”

Animal welfare officer Folly said: “Myself and my colleagues spent a number of days trying to catch this swan, but she was still very mobile and would head off to the middle of the water where we couldn’t get her.

“We are so grateful that the fire service were able to come out to rescue this swan as we just wouldn’t have been able to get her without them.

“If she hadn’t have been caught it’s likely she would have eventually died a slow painful death.”

A fire service spokesman added: “The crew worked closely with the RSPCA staff to plan the safest way to help the swan. Wearing specialist in-water dry suits the crew used a rescue boat to retrieve the swan and bring her to the river bank, safely leaving her with the RSPCA staff.”


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