WEST Sussex Wildlife Protection has issued a stern warning to amateur anglers in the area to take more care when disposing of their fishing lines, after an endangered bird needed to be rescued in East Preston.
A herring gull – which, due to its dwindling numbers nationally, has been classified as an endangered species by Natural England – was rescued after it became entangled in carelessly-disposed fishing line.
The bird, which had an angling hook and weight embedded in its foot, was noticed by a resident of Barn Row Cottages, on Thursday morning.
Simon Wild, of West Sussex Wildlife Protection, said this was a “perennial” problem in the area, although he estimated that his organisation received only around three or four reports a year, on average, of this sort of incident.
“There seems to be this carelessness at the moment where smaller-scale amateur anglers are leaving their hooks, if they get snagged in the reeds.
“I know it’s a small number of cases but it’s not impossible to free their hooks, so I would really urge people to take more care when angling,” Mr Wild said.
He added: “I wouldn’t say incidents like this are on the increase but it remains a perennial problem. It’s normally a swan caught up in the River Arun.
“But herring gulls are a protected bird, it’s on an amber listing. They have suffered a huge decline in numbers so need to be protected. The way it was injured, the gull could have died a slow, painful death.”
The bird was treated by vets in Bognor Regis.