Anger over injury to wildlife

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The Scottish SPCA is being inundated with calls from concerned locals about injured wildlife at Carlingwark Loch.

The damage is caused by careless people throwing away their used fishing hooks and lines.

Scotland’s animal welfare charity is urging people who fish in the loch, near Castle Douglas, to clear up after themselves as its animal rescue officers are now attending incidents at the beauty spot on a weekly basis.

One swan has recently died as a result of becoming severely injured by fishing tackle debris and many other birds have had to be rescued from the loch to receive vet treatment before being returned to the water.

Animal rescue officer Tracy Cannon said: “Carlingwark Loch is a popular beauty spot which attracts lots of people, including families, dog walkers and anglers.

“Unfortunately for the wildlife, this means that they have to share their habitat with an increasing amount of man-made litter such as discarded fishing hooks and line.

“The vast majority of anglers are very responsible and take care to clear away their equipment after they’ve used it.

“What we’re dealing with is a minority of people who fish in the summer months and don’t respect the environment they are fishing in and the wildlife that inhabits it.

“The latest casualty was an adult male swan who had swallowed a hook attached to a tangled mess of fishing line.

“He had obviously been unable to eat for some time as he was very weak and had lost a lot of weight.

“Despite our best efforts, we couldn’t save this swan and he had to be put to sleep to end his suffering.

“We are urging anyone fishing at Carlingwark Loch to show consideration to the natural environment and its wild inhabitants. It’s vital that people make sure they clear away every last piece of fishing equipment. It could save an animal’s life.”

Anyone wishing to report an injured or distressed animal should call the Scottish SPCA helpline on 03000 999 999.