Rescuers praised for rescuing birds caught in fishing tackle


An animal charity has praised RNLI lifeguards for helping to save the lives of seagulls caught in a tangle of fishing waste

Gulls were tangled with lines, hooks and weights that prevented them from flying or swimming.

Rescuers who helped the trapped birds were praised for their kindness by an RSPCA inspector. Inspector Sarah Morris was called to Slapton Sands to rescue two seagulls after members of the public called the animal charity’s emergency helpline.

The birds were seen unable to break free after becoming tangled in the sea at the tourist hotspot.

Sarah said: “The gulls were caught in fishing tackle with hooks and a weight attached.

“They were completely stuck and unable to fly or swim.”

“RNLI lifeguards Luke and Sam had also spotted the gulls and decided to try and help. They were real heroes and managed to catch them with a blanket.

“The hooks and lines have been removed and the birds have been released unharmed.”

Sarah continued: “Sadly this is an example of how discarded fishing tackle can be so damaging to our beautiful wildlife, but we hope it reminds anyone who enjoys fishing to be extra careful when fishing. ensure that nothing is left behind.”

RNLI lifeguard Sam said: “It was heartbreaking to see the birds in such distress, we are used to helping people on the beach but we were really delighted to be able to help the birds and our RSPCA colleagues.”

Almost 40% (1,510) of all litter-related calls to the RSPCA last year were about animals that had been specifically caught in fishing litter – from a seal strangled by an old fishing net to dozens of swans that have swallowed or been pierced by old hooks or caught in the fishing line.

The animal welfare charity encourages anyone who loves fishing to follow the Angling Trust’s ‘Take 5’ campaign and use the recycling scheme to get rid of their waste.

For more information on how to properly dispose of fishing litter visit

To help the RSPCA continue to rescue, rehabilitate and rehome animals in desperate need of care, visit or call the charity’s donation line on 0300 123 8181.

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