Apr 26, 2012

Fishing line blues

Photo courtesy Alejandro Gallo
Ironically, on Earth Day, as WildRescue celebrated its second annual Worldwide Fishing Line Cleanup Day, we received a report of a great blue heron with a bad fishing line injury. The bird was discovered in the Los Angeles River by wildlife photographer, Alejandro Gallo.


The species is known for being wary and skittish, and the bird is still flighted, making this an extremely difficult rescue. To develop a capture plan, it helps to have as much information as possible. In this case, we need to know where this individual bird likes to hang out during the day and what time it arrives.


Thanks to Alejandro and one of our responders, Zack, we can count on the bird frequenting a particular place, daily. It's a precarious spot, though, and the river and thick brush along its banks complicate matters. Ideally, the heron should be enticed into a better spot for netting or trapping. 


Photo courtesy Alejandro Gallo
Rescuing these kinds of birds can be tricky, and the preparation can take days. Captures, like this one, that require luring an animal, can require hours and hours of waiting. It's not easy finding people who are willing and able to perform these types of rescues.


Unfortunately, at this point in time, WildRescue does not have enough responders in Los Angeles area to carry out this rescue safely. We are currently reaching out to other entities who may be able to help, but it doesn't look promising. 


The majority of wildlife hospitals leave the capture and transport of ailing animals in the hands of the public or the local Animal Control. WildRescue is one of the very few wildlife organizations in the country that offers field response, but at this time, its program depends on volunteerism, which has wained with the economic downturn.


Anyone interested in volunteering to help rescue wildlife in the Los Angeles area is asked to  email rescue (at) wildrescue (dot) org.