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Last updated: 01/08/2019, 3:24 PM

Swan rescue - Surrey Quays

19/07/2019 08:51
Southwark
Animal rescue

Firefighters rescued a young swan which had got its leg tangled in fishing wire at Surrey Quays.

Crews were called to assist the cygnet by a volunteer from the Swan Sanctuary who was at the scene attempting to rescue the bird.

A crew from Lewisham’s fire rescue unit deployed their water rescue boat and were able to reach the swan and untangle the majority of the wire, before bringing it back to dry land and handing it over to the volunteer.

Volunteer Ann Aitken- Davies said the swan was born in May and although it won’t be able to return to its parents as they will reject it, it will stay at the Swan Sanctuary and be released along with a number of other cygnets when they are all well and old enough.

She said: “We don’t know how long the swan had been there, but I got called this morning and I think it must have been there longer as its leg was very badly swollen – almost double the size of the other leg.

“It wouldn’t have lasted long as it was getting very distressed and kept going under the water.

“I phoned the RSPCA initially as I knew it needed a boat, but they weren’t able to help and advised me to phone the fire brigade.

“Because of how bad the leg was, we couldn’t just put it back in the water. It will come back to the sanctuary for a course of anti-biotics and then we will release it along with all the other cygnets we have later this year.

“I’d like to say a huge thank you to the firefighters – they were absolutely brilliant.”

Crew Manager Ian Barritt, who was at the scene, said: “The cygnet was stuck fast in the fishing line which was caught in some rocks.

“The mum was there and was quite stressed so we put the boat in between the mum and the baby so she kept her distance and the crew was able to gently pull it towards them and release some of the wire.

“Ann did the right thing by phoning the RSPCA first, as we would always advise people to do if they see an animal in distress. If they need our specialist equipment we are happy to attend, as in this case.

“It was very deep water - someone couldn’t have waded out to reach it and we wouldn’t have wanted anyone to try.”

The Brigade was called at 0851 and the incident was over for firefighters at 1019.

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