The injured swan with a hook embedded in her neck and beak. Picture: RSPCA

An appeal has gone out not to leave fishing tackle on banks and watercourses after a swan suffered “terrible” injuries.

 The adult bird was unable to move her head after a pike hook became stuck in her neck and beak.

Staff at the East Winch RSPCA Centre have been caring for the swan, which was found at a marina in Cambridgeshire.

She was caught with the help of firefighters and taken to the centre.

Animal welfare officer Jane Folly said: “The hook had become lodged in the bird’s neck and beak and was clearly infected. It was a terrible injury to have sustained.”

The swan was anaesthetised and one part of the hook was removed from her neck while another, which had gone through both her beak and tongue, was also removed.

Alison Charles, centre manager, said: “This poor swan had clearly been in a huge amount of pain and would not have been able to feed as a result. The wound was severely infected and had she not have been rescued it would sadly only have been a matter of time before she died.

“Now this hook has been removed she is starting to look a bit brighter and has began to eat.

“It is just awful to think the injuries sustained to this beautiful bird could easily have been avoided if someone disposed of their fishing line correctly in the first place.”

The swan’s injuries has prompted centre staff and RSPCA officials to remind people not to leave angling items on watercourses and river banks.

Ms Charles said: “Sadly, we do see a large amount of birds being brought into us with these kind of injuries.

“Most anglers do make the effort to retrieve and take home all their fishing line and tackle but sadly some are not so careful, which result in incidents like this.

“I hope by highlighting the plight of this poor swan that it will act as a reminder to people to ensure they always dispose of their fishing line and hooks correctly.

“Swans are inquisitive creatures and she would have seen this shiny looking object and gone over to investigate and see if it was food and sadly this was the end result for her.”

Staff were hoping to release the swan back to its partner this week.