Lucky day for trapped solan seen by couple on walk

The dire consequences of marine-borne litter were highlighted at Hillswick on Wednesday when a gannet was rescued from a metre-long length of frayed rope.

Trondra couple Richard Owen and Triin Tammsalu found the entangled bird on the East Ayre after walking round the Ness of Hillswick.

They immediately approached Hillswick Wildlife Sanctuary next door, but an initial attempt to catch the gannet failed when it managed to escape and land in the sea.

The couple and sanctuary staff kept an eye on the bird as it attempted to fly away, but kept being dragged back down to the sea by the rope.

Trondra couple Richard Owen and Triin Tammsalu found the distressed bird while out walking in Hillswick.

Eventually, it came ashore again and managed to fly across to the next beach on the Ness, where it came to rest.

The team managed to creep up on the exhausted bird and capture it on a grassy knoll.

The rope was wrapped so tightly around its lower beak that it took several minutes to cut it away using scissors and a sharp knife.

By the time they took it back to the beach, it was so traumatised it refused to move.

Hillswick Wildlife Sanctuary’s Jan Bevington said: “Rather than chase the gannet back into the water when it was already so stressed out by the experience it had just been through, we decided to leave it alone to recover.

“We returned a couple of hours later with some pieces of fish for it, only to find it had disappeared.

“Hopefully it will recover fully from what must have been an extremely stressful experience, but we really had no choice but to do what we did or it would definitely have died.

“This episode is a perfect example of the horrors that discarded plastic causes for our wonderful marine wildlife and demonstrates how we all really have to take full responsibility for what we throw away.

“It makes us think about all the thousands of creatures that aren’t found by the likes of Richard and Triin and have to suffer a slow, agonising death due to man-made pollution.”

Hillswick Wildlife Sanctuary is running a fundraising appeal to secure the future of the sanctuary.

If 500 people pledge £5 a month to the charity, the local oil industry and the council have promised to invest £300,000 into the sanctuary’s facilities.


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