Page last updated at 11:27 GMT, Saturday, 22 November 2008

Careless anglers killing swans

Cygnet xray
The swan's neck has swollen after swallowing a hook and line

Vets in Somerset are concerned that more swans are being injured and killed by fishing tackle left behind by anglers on local waterways and lakes.

The latest victim, a cygnet, had already been rescued once by the vets in Bridgwater, but then swallowed a fishing hook.

The cygnet was the sixth in a family of seven cygnets to be fatally injured.

Vets at the Quantock Veterinary Hospital are asking anglers to be more thoughtful and take their litter home.

Veterinary surgeon, Dominic Phillips, said: "It is devastating to watch these beautiful, young birds suffer such painful and avoidable deaths.

"Two of the dead cygnets had previously been saved at the hospital and released back to the lake, only to be returned having swallowed fishing tackle once more.

"Although most anglers are very responsible and careful with their fishing tackle and take their rubbish away with them, some leave behind hooks, weights and non-biodegradable nylon line which, when swallowed, can then have deadly consequences for wildlife.

"It can be an extremely painful and distressing way for them to die and we simply ask that anglers always be thoughtful and vigilant about clearing up behind them."

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