Anglers warned after Westerton community effort saves swan

A plea has gone out to anglers after a community effort helped save a swan from almost certain death.

Saturday, 29th May 2021, 9:55 am
Swan family back together at Bearsden

Residents of Westerton raised the alarm on social media after the distressed bird was spotted in the canal with a fishing hook embedded in her mouth and one lodged in her back.

She was in danger of losing a leg and starving to death.

Frantic efforts were made by local people to contact the Scottish SPCA and Hessilhead Wildlife Centre at Beith.

Luckily, Hessilhead volunteer Kirsty Murdoch who lives in Bearsden was able to rush to the area with another volunteer minutes after the alarm was raised on Thursday night.

She said: “We were able to attend quickly as it was so close.

"We managed to catch her and found she had a fishing line and two hooks attached to her, one hook in her mouth and one on her back.

"The line was round her body and twice round her leg.

"We removed the tackle but had to take her to Hessilhead for antibiotic treatment.”

She added: “We had to take her cygnet too. The male swan was very distressed.”

The story had a happy ending as the family of three were able to be reunited the next day.

Kirsty said: "Luckily she had no serious injuries and after antibiotic treatment and observation she was released the following evening with her cygnet.”

She and other wildlife experts are putting out an appeal to local anglers.

Kirsty said: “Injuries from carelessly discarded fishing lines and hooks can be extremely painful for wildlife often causing serious injury and death.

“In this instance, the swan could have lost a leg and died.”

She thanked local residents for raising the alarm so quickly.

Kirsty said: “The local community have shown amazing support for the swan family highlighting the plight of the swan, reporting to Hessilhead, helping at the scene and some have kindly made donations as well to the wildlife centre.”

Earlier this year, Kirsty rescued a swan after it was badly injured in a dog attack at Mugdock Park.

At first, Hessilhead hoped the bird could be saved but its injuries were so bad it had to be put to sleep.

Visit http://www.hessilheadwildlife.org.uk/ to find out about their work.