Recently we got to release one of our more graceful patients back to the wild, ‘Belinda’ a juvenile Black Swan.
Belinda was a victim of marine debris. Belinda ended up swallowing some carelessly discarded fishing line and a hook which lodged in her intestines. The fishing line, still attached to the hook inside the bird, was trailed out of her beak when the Swan was found.
Hooks, lines, sinkers, plastic bags and balloons cause a huge problem for lots of marine animals, they often mistake them for food or become tangled in the rubbish, which causes the very painful deaths for many animals. As a consequence, our vets are experts at doing delicate surgery to try and remove the hooks and other rubbish from the guts of pelicans, penguins, turtles and now, Belinda the swan.
Belinda was certainly one of the lucky ones. The beautiful, calm-natured bird became a favourite of the wildlife nurses, after veterinarians retrieved the lethal hook from the bird’s intestines during the risky abdominal surgery . The fishing line hadn’t caused too much damage, but often this can be more lethal than the hooks, because it lacerates the stomach lining as it moves through the body.
After lots of pain medication and rehabilitation, Belinda was able to return to Manly Dam. Her parents and siblings quickly swam up and greeted her, but being territorial birds, Belinda’s parents weren’t so keen to see their youngster back on their turf. Libby, our Wildlife Hospital Manager thinks the adult female was glad to have a little less responsibility, she had quite a brood, and at roughly 18 months old, Belinda’s certainly getting to an age where she can be independent.
Belinda took her relative’s pursuit of her in good stead, but after a little too much attention from the adult swans, our Wildlife Hospital Manager and the local Rangers thought it best to move Belinda further up Manly Dam, allowing her to quietly settle back into her environment.
She was last seen gliding on the still waters of the dam.
Taronga Zoo, Media Relations
(02) 9978 4606
Taronga Western Plains Zoo, Media Relations
(02) 6881 1400
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