Friday 4th May 2012
An owl was left hanging precariously from a tree after it got tangled in discarded fishing line.
The male tawny owl was spotted on an island in the middle of a private fishing lake in Pebmarsh, in Essex, by a dog walker.
It is believed he had been dangling from the line by the tip of his wing overnight and most of the day.
The RSPCA, which rescued the bird, has now reiterated calls for anglers to take any fishing waste away with them because of the dangers it poses to wildlife.
To rescue the owl, three RSPCA inspectors paddled a boat to the island to cut the bird free from the line and detangle him. He was taken to a wildlife centre for a check-up and later released back to the wild.
Inspector Rosie Russon said the owl was very difficult to see as he was camouflaged and playing dead by hanging his head and keeping very still.
She said: "This was a very lucky owl. How the dog-walker spotted him out there, I really don't know.
"There's no doubt he would have died if he had not been seen, probably a slow, lingering death from starvation. He could not have freed himself from that tangle.
"The fact that he played dead saved his life too. If he had flapped to free himself he would have broken bones.
"There was a happy ending this time, but there often isn't with cases of wildlife and fishing litter which can be very damaging to wildlife. It is so easy to dispose of rubbish properly and we urge people to take greater care, it could save a life."