A SWAN had to be rescued by the RSPCA after it was found tangled in fishing line with a hook through its beak in Poole.

The animal welfare charity was called to help after members of the public spotted the distressed female swan near Creekmoor Ponds.

Visitors to the fishing lakes saw the swan helplessly thrashing around in a tree overhanging the water, suspended around 30 feet away from the bank, unable to free herself.

Bournemouth Echo:

RSPCA inspector Jo Story and animal collection officer Mike Staden were able to reach the swan by boat before safely capturing her.

The RSPCA is reminding anglers to safely dispose of netting, lines and hooks following the incident on Friday, April 5.

Inspector Story said: “Having seen the swan and looked at it through my binoculars, I realised that she desperately needed rescuing

“We rowed out and Mike attempted to free the swan, who was attached via fishing line to an overhanging branch.

“Once that was cut it became apparent that the line was also attached to roots growing from below in two places.

“The hook had gone through the tip of the upper beak and the line was wrapped round the body, and one of the legs was pulling the head round into the bird’s body. The bird had tried to twist and turn and so had managed to entangle lots of branches into the line and her body.

“We bought her back to shore and then set about untangling her. Amazingly, once we had done all that, the only issue she seemed to have was some damaged feathers. We could not quite believe it but felt since she had a mate on the lake we would release her back straight away.

“Mike put her on the ground near the lake and she waddled in then swam away, towards her mate. It was a great ending and a really worthwhile rescue.

“Fishing litter in our waterways is a major problem and it is so damaging to wildlife. I would urge people to be responsible and remember to take home any litter if you go fishing – discarded lines and hooks can easily snag water birds and other wildlife, causing terrible injuries and suffering.”

“We strongly urge those who enjoy fishing to be extra cautious to make sure 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. If members of the public see discarded litter we would encourage them to pick it up and put it in the bin. Their action could save an animal's life.”

Last year, the RSPCA’s officers were called about 3228 incidents involving fishing litter.

If you see an animal you have concerns about please call the RSPCA's emergency line on 0300 123 4999.

The RSPCA's top tips for disposing fishing litter properly include:

● Take unwanted fishing line home and cut it into pieces before putting in the bin.

● Be aware of surrounding trees – discarded line caught in foliage causes problems for wildlife.

● Don’t leave bait unattended – always remove from the hook and put in safe place.

● Use a bait box.

● Safely dispose of any litter you see, even if it’s not your own