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Saving water birds: New recycling point at East Winch

Saving water birds: New recycling point at East Winch

Published by Grace Marner
12:00pm 11th September 2019.

You can now recycle your fishing litter at East Winch Wildlife centre.

It's been introduced after the RSPCA recieved 3,274 reports of animals affected by angling litter across the UK.

They hope it will reduce injuries and fatalities to wildlife in the area.

Gull (1)
These can be really harmful to water birds

Incidents reported last year included birds swallowing fishing hooks and getting tangled in fishing lines which often lead to death.

Swans are most likely to be affected by it, but other water birds like geese, ducks and seagulls have been injured. 

Staff and volunteers at the RSPCA's East Winch Wildlife Centre have been caring for a large number of birds and some of the most recent cases include:

  • A gull found at Old Hunstanton on September 4, is being treated after he swallowed a fishing hook which also became stuck in his oesophagus. The hook was on a line attached to a 150g weight. The weight meant the gull could not take off or fly. Vets successfully operated to remove the hook. He is also being treated with antibiotics and pain relief.
gull (2)
  • A cygnet rescued from the Nottingham area on Sunday 1 September. When examined by the vets they discovered a hook in his oesophagus which was attached to a line with a further two hooks. The centre's vet carried out surgery to remove the hook and he is now being given painkillers and antibiotics.
Nottingham cygnet
  • Vets at the centre have also been treating an adult swan which was brought in on August 16 from the Peterborough area after he was found with a hook also stuck in his neck. Vets operated and removed the hook, but the neck was severely infected and a second round of surgery was required to drain away the fluid from the wound. 
new peterborough swan

Holly Barber, anti-litter campaign manager for the RSPCA said:  

"We're hoping that our new recycling facilities will help reduce the terrible toll that is taken on animals by carelessly discarded fishing tackle.

"The majority of anglers do dispose of their litter properly and it is frustrating that those who don't may not have realised how dangerous it is to animals. Discarded line in particular is a terrible hazard for wildlife, especially as it can be almost invisible.

peterborough swan (1)
The swan found in Peterborough had other injuries too

"We hope anglers and others who may have found discarded fishing paraphernalia will help to reduce the number of these incidents by using the new recycling points at our Wildlife Centres and at other points around the UK.  

"We strongly urge those who enjoy fishing to be extra careful to ensure nothing is left behind. Most anglers are very responsible when disposing of their litter, but it only takes one careless person to endanger the life of an animal. We ask all those who enjoy fishing to follow the Angling Trust's Take 5 campaign and make use of the Anglers National Line recycling scheme to dispose of their waste tackle and line."

Peterborough Swan 2
The swan is now on the mend at RSPCA East Winch

Viv Shears, Co-Founder of the volunteer led Anglers National Line Recycling Scheme  (ANLRS) said: 

"The scheme encourages anglers, whether they are freshwater, sea or fly participants, to collect any discarded line they find while fishing and drop it into one of the scheme bins around the UK.

"A huge amount of line is also discarded when anglers change their old lines at home and this has historically ended up in landfill sites, where it is not only a risk to scavenging wildlife but it takes hundreds of years to degrade."

Nottingham cygnet hook
These hooks were found in the cygnet

The following can be recycled:

  • Nylon Monofilament
  • Braided lines / Fly backing
  • Fly Lines

These are then recycled and turned into various products such as traffic cones, sun glasses, skateboards, wetsuits and even swimwear.

Gull xray
An x-ray of the damage done to the gull found in Hunstanton

The RSPCA encourages members of the public who see discarded litter to pick it up and dispose of it safely. Their action could save an animal's life.

Top tips 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 foliage causes problems for wildlife.
  • Don't leave bait unattended - always remove it from the hook and put it in a safe place.
  • Use a bait box.
  • Safely dispose of any litter you see, even if it's not your own.

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