Roger Salmon column: Please play your part in helping to protect our wild birds

Roger Salmon
Roger Salmon

A report for the Environment Agency in 2002 estimated that the RSPCA and other groups attended over 8,000 sick or injured swans in Britain each year.

Fishing litter injuries are the biggest single cause of swan rescues - thought to be around 3,000 a year.

Fishing litter (hooks, weights, line) causes injury and death. Hooks can become embedded in the skin.Line and weights can be swallowed

Line can wrap round an animal cutting off blood supply. Wildlife entangled in line may suffer a slow death due to starvation.

So what can you do?

Take unwanted fishing line home and cut it into small pieces before putting it in the bin. Be aware of surrounding trees-discarded line caught up in foliage can entangle wildlife. Don’t leave baited tackle unattended-always remove the bait from the hook and put tackle in a safe place. Use a bait box so that there is no chance of leaving an empty bait tin behind by mistake. Keep your local stretch of river, canal or coastline litter free. Dispose of any litter you see even if it is not your own. Chinese lanterns can also cause injury, suffering or even death to animals through ingestion, entanglement, entrapment or fire. Livestock, for example, cattle can eat or become caught in lantern debris in grazing vegetation or eat lantern parts accidentally chopped into animal feed during harvest. If an animal eats sharp lantern parts these can tear and puncture the throat, stomach or internal organs causing internal bleeding or in worst cases death. There is a risk of fire destroying habitats and setting fire to animal housing, feed and bedding.

If you see an injured wild animal report it to the RSPCA’s 24 hour cruelty and advice line on 03001234999.