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Heron captured and freed of tangled fishing line

Date Posted: 2008-01-16

A black spoon heron who has been suffering for nearly six weeks after getting his bill tangled in fishing line at the Toyosaki mud lands in Tomigusuku City has a new lease on life.
The bird has not been able to eat, and combinations of veterinarians, citizens and city officials have been trying to capture the bird for weeks in order to give him medical care. Their efforts were unsuccessful, and a bird specialist from Tokyo was summoned to help. An attempt to capture the bird with a rocket net failed Sunday, but then the heron inadvertently aided his own cause.
The injured and weak heron ventured into a mangrove forest, where it’s difficult to fly. A team of five veterinarians and bird specialists made a successful capture, then transported the heron to a veterinarian clinic where the fishing line was clipped away. The heron, which normally weighs nearly two kilograms, was down to only 800 grams.
The bird was first spotted December 6th, and officials have waged a 38-day campaign to rescue the bird. As twilight appeared Sunday, and the bird was in captivity, there were rounds of cheers. “He is very weak, and we don’t know if he’ll survive or not,” said a veterinarian. “We’ll do our best to support the bird.”
The heron is emaciated, only skin and bone. After the rescue, veterinarians gave the heron a shot, and then tried to feed his favorite bait fishes. The bird couldn’t eat at all. He look like surprised and appeared afraid of the crowd of people around him. The Yamashina Bird Institution chairman, Kiyoaki Azaki, said . “The bird was so weak that when we found him he couldn’t even try to fly and escape. He was just sitting and looking tired.”

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