We investigated the incidence of injuries caused by lost or discarded fishing tackle on the Mute Swan (Cygnus olor) admitted to a wildlife hospital in the English Midlands between January 2000 and December 2002. Injuries caused by lost or discarded fishing tackle was the largest single attributable cause of admission over this period, accounting for 17% of a total of 1,491 swans admitted over the three year period. Treatment success was high with 87% subsequently released, although the majority of these birds would probably have died without treatment. We also conducted a survey of blood lead levels in 921 swans over the same period and 74% were found to have elevated blood lead levels over 1.21 μmol/l. Over three-quarters of swans with elevated blood lead levels (>1.21 μmol/l) were successfully treated with the chelating agent EDTA and were subsequently released following treatment.
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Vol. 27 • No. 1