This week’s patient is Lewis.
Lewis a silver gull from Burleigh Heads. Lewis was presented to Currumbin Wildlife Hospital for a very unfortunate, common and preventable reason. He was entangled with fishing hooks, lures and fishing line. Lewis had a hook in his mouth, this was attached to fishing line which was entangled around him with a lure attached to the other end which was embedded into his left wing. Our wildlife veterinary team were able to remove these hooks and fishing line while Lewis was under anaesthesia and he is now being treated with antibiotics for infection where the hooks were present. Lewis is also receiving pain relief as he has extensive bruising from his ordeal.
Lewis is one of the lucky ones, unfortunately a countless number of waterbirds die from fishing hook and line injuries each year. The causes of death can be strangulation from line, injury from swallowing hooks or entanglement which can limit mobility resulting in drowning or starvation. You can see in one of the images below that we have two large containers filled with hooks, lures and fishing line, which is only a small glimpse of the amount of this material the Currumbin Wildlife Hospital have removed from patients like Lewis.
Currumbin Wildlife Hospital see patients with injuries from hook and line entanglement almost every day and these patients are not limited to birds, we also have a large number of fresh water turtles admitted with similar injuries. Lewis will remain in our Wildlife Hospital’s Waterbird Rehabilitation Facility until he has recovered from his injuries, once he is well we will release Lewis where he came from at Burleigh Heads.
Let’s work together as a community to keep Lewis and his mates safe. We all enjoy the beautiful Gold Coast outdoors and fishing is certainly a popular activity, you can help Lewis and his mates by not leaving fishing hooks and line lying around. Please discard of these materials thoughtfully as the impact on our native wildlife is devastating.
Lewis is only a young gull, which you can tell by the colour of his beak. Adults have a vibrant orange coloured beak but young gulls like Lewis have a dark coloured beak as you can see in his pictures. It is fortunate that this young gull will have a second chance but concerning to know that once released he will be at immediate risk of the same trauma occurring again.
So next time you are fishing please think of Lewis and his mates. If you don’t go fishing you may still come across discarded line or hooks so please pick them up and put them in the bin. This is a group effort, only together can we save our wildlife.
Do you want to help save patients just like Lewis? Please donate here.