TWO swans had to be saved by the RSPCA after becoming entangled in a crabbing line left by day-trippers.
A passer-by raised the alarm after spotting the two birds in distress at Sturt Pond in Milford last Wednesday, apparently tied up thick twine and being dragged under the water.
RSPCA Inspector Patrick Bailey said: “They were clearly becoming waterlogged and it became apparent that they were tangled together and then attached to something beneath the water.
“Initially the swans were out of our reach and it was heartbreaking to watch them struggle because each time the stronger bird attempted to get away, the weaker bird was pulled underwater and was at risk of being drowned.
“In fact, both of them were at a real risk of being injured or drowning as they became increasingly entangled and exhausted.”
Luckily the stronger of the two swans made a “desperate” effort to glide towards the shore dragging the other one with it.
The RSPCA team managed to catch hold of them using poles and cut the twine looped round their legs, wings, bodies and necks.
Inspector Bailey said: “One bird had a hook in amongst the chest feathers, but it thankfully hadn’t pierced the skin.
“The heavy weight turned out to be a plastic handle at the end of the twine, which had accumulated so much weed and silt that it became a solid, heavy mass.
“The handle and the twine were discarded crabbing line. This is not the first swan I have rescued at this location with hooks and line, and unfortunately I fear it won’t be the last.”
Inspector Bailey is now calling on people to take their litter and fishing equipment home with them.
Both swans were taken to RSPCA Stubbington Ark Animal Rescue Centre to recover and were eventually released back into Sturt Pond.