rspca

Caught up in Fishing Rubbish

Wildlife Posted May 25, 2020
We wish that every story would have a happy ending, but unfortunately, that is not always the case

Every year the RSPCA Animal Rescue Officers respond to 30,576 calls with the majority of those being wildlife calls. Some of these calls are for animals who need a simple helping hand but, for the most part, these issues are due to human inflicted cruelty, intentional or not.

rescued bat in towel

This was the case for two wildlife rescues we encountered just recently. One of the two was a little black flying fox who was found hanging by string and fishing netting in a tree. RSPCA Animal Rescue Officers successfully brought the bat down with the aid of some poles and a knife, however the battle wasn’t over.

RSPCA rescuing bat from tree

Its wing had been damaged by the fishing net, causing protrusion of the bone. This damage was too severe to save the bat’s life, so sadly euthanasia was the only option for our wildlife vets.


Bat wing injury
Here are more animal rescues our team have done just in the past few weeks with wild animals entangled!

Another feat taken on by our Animal Rescue officers tells a very similar story to that of the bat. Perched on a rusted shipwreck, a cormorant wore its feathers, along with what seemed like 30 metres of fishing line. 

cormorant with fishing wire

Sam and Jamy, two RSPCA Animal Rescue Officers, spotted the trapped bird on the beach, and attempted to reach it from the shore. The cormorant flew into the shipwreck, fishing line and all, before the Animal Rescue Officers jumped into the sea to successfully catch it. With the help of volunteer Steven, Sam and Jamy untangled the bird.

Back at the Wildlife Hospital it was found that the seabird had also ingested two fishing hooks: one in the stomach and one in the digestive system. 

Cormorant X-Ray

Our wildlife vets performed a successful surgery on the cormorant via its abdomen, and the bird’s recovery was monitored at our hospital for 5 days. The cormorant was then sent to Twinnies Pelican and Seabird Rescue for rehabilitation before release, but sadly didn’t pull through from its ordeal.


Although these stories display heroic feats from our Animal Rescue Officers and wildlife veterinarians, it is a timely reminder of the damage that rubbish and discarded fishing tackle in our oceans can do to our wildlife.

We want to see our wildlife thriving rather than suffering, so please take your fishing hooks and line with you. Any discarded waste ends up impacting our wildlife.

Our Animal Rescue Officers and volunteers do an incredible job every day, bringing hope to many animals around Queensland. Help keep us on the road by donating to RSPCA Queensland today.

If you see sick or injured animals, contact our 24/7 Animal Emergency Hotline 1300 ANIMAL (1300 264 625).

Jemima Moore
Share this article
Find the perfect pet