Every year, Tucson Wildlife Center admits quite a few wildlife patients with injuries due to entrapment in, or ingestion of, fishing tackle. The latest was this curious Muscovy duck who had a fish hook lodged in his face. Luckily for him, TWC’s wildlife care team was able to remove the hook and the duck was recently released back into the wild.
Many different species of wildlife can suffer injuries or death caused by improperly discarded fishing gear. These wild animals encounter fishing line, hooks, and netting in a variety of ways. Waterfowl and turtles become entangled when swimming in bodies of water where line and netting has been carelessly discarded. Birds sometimes use fishing line and netting fragments as nesting material, which can lead to entanglement of both the parents and chicks. Turtles, who see the fisherman’s bait as a quick and easy meal, can ingest fishing hooks; and hooks left in released fish can be ingested by predators such as water birds and large turtles.
Wildlife injuries and deaths caused by improperly discarded fishing tackle can be prevented. Dispose of broken or leftover tackle and never leave behind fishing line, hooks, lures, or bait. If practicing catch and release, do not release fish who still have hooks in them. If you find an animal entangled in fishing line or you accidentally hook an animal while fishing, call Tucson Wildlife Center for advice on next steps.
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YouTube video below of the Muscovy duck! Click on the picture.