Hooked seagull ‘could have drowned’

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The RSPCA was called out to rescue a distressed seagull which was tangled in fishing line with a hook embedded in its beak.

Inspector Alison Edwards was called to the River Brede in Rye on Thursday, October 29, after a member of the public spotted the bird tangled in fishing line.

She said: “The bird was clearly distressed.

“He was sitting on the water but with his beak under water. He was flapping his wings and trying to fly away.

“He was very lucky the tide wasn’t higher that day or he could have drowned.

“He had a large hook embedded in his beak and the other end of the line was snagged somewhere under the water.

“This is a reminder of how damaging discarded fishing litter can be for wildlife.

“All it takes is a little thought and care - and a life could be saved.”

Firefighters attended the scene to help rescue the gull, which was trapped around 12ft off the riverbank. Two members of crew, trained in water rescue, waded into the river to cut the bird free.

Once on dry land, Alison transferred him to a box and took him to the RSPCA’s Mallydams Wood Wildlife Centre in Hastings.

The hook fell out of the gull’s beak upon rescue and the bird, thought to be a young juvenile, was left with a bloody wound.

The gull was monitored at the centre and, despite not eating properly for the first few days, is now said to be doing well.

Staff are preparing to release it back into the wild imminently.

In an emergency, contact the RSPCA’s 24-hour cruelty line on 0300 1234 999.

* The RSPCA is a charity and relies on public donations to exist. To assist inspectors in carrying out their vital work, text HELP to 78866 (Texts cost £3 + one standard network rate message).

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