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Heron recovering nicely; fishermen breathe sigh of relief

Date Posted: 2008-01-20

The black face spatula heron rescued January 13th after being tangled for more than a month in fishing line is responding well to veterinary care in Tomigusuku, and fishermen are relieved.
The bird has gained 100 grams, veterinarians say, and is eating up to 80 small fish a day. The heron’s still less than half the 2kg weight it should be, but doctors predict he’ll bounce back and soon be able to be released. Doctors say the bird had an irregular pulse and was tired when rescued, but there were no fish hooks or fishing line in the stomach.
The bird was first spotted in early December near the Tomigusuku port, fishing line and hooks wrapped around its bill. It could not eat, and the more the bird tried, the more tangled the fishing line became around its leg. Rescue specialists were called from Tokyo, joining local bird specialists and veterinarians in finally capturing the bird in the Manko Park wetlands.
Motokazu Hoshi says “there are a lot of endangered species coming to Okinawa from other countries for the winter, and we fishing lovers must know about manners.” Hoshi is Okinawa branch chairman of the Japanese Fishing Promotion Association, and his members are committed to “taking action and strengthening beach cleanup so we can protect birds and the environment.” He says the association will make posters showing pictures of birds whose bills are fouled by fishing lines, reminding members never to leave fishing lines in the water or laying on the beach.

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