West Sussex Wildlife Protection received a call on Sunday 2nd June from “Pat” a holiday visitor from London about a herring gull weighted down with an object and line in the river Arun opposite the pier at Littlehampton. Pat said his conscience would not allow him to leave without informing somebody.
Wildlife rescuer, Simon Wild visited the site but realised a conventional net was not long enough and so contacted his wife Jaine, a Felpham Parish Councillor. She suggested some bean poles from her allotment lashed up to the net might work. By chance, one allotment holder had an 8 foot long metal pole weighing down a plastic sheet, and this was “borrowed.”
Lashed up, the pole and net were over 10 feet long, and a man on the pier opposite could be heard to shout “no way” as the rescue was underway with Mrs Wild holding onto her husband’s legs to prevent him falling in.
After two failed attempts the bird got to safety and once the line was removed from its neck, he was released unscathed. The metal pole was returned and the allotment holder was none the wiser!
Jane Wild from West Sussex Wildlife Protection said: “There is always a risk of people losing baited lines in the Arun and not being able to retrieve them. These lines then prove a menace to wild birds and I would rather people stop this practice.”