SEASIDE – A call is being made to ask fishermen in the area to be careful about leaving lures and other fishing gear after a seagull was recently rescued in Seaside after being discovered so abused by a lure it was unable to eat or drink.
The SPCA’s Monterey County Wildlife and Rehabilitation Center rescued the western gull after it was found with several hooks embedded in its face, upper and lower beak, and left wing.
When he was first seen he was still able to fly and avoid capture, but as time passed and the condition of the seagull deteriorated, the SPCA staff took a turn for the worse. was warned by residents of Noche Buena Street and was able to save him and transport him to his rehabilitation center.
“The gull was emaciated and very dehydrated,” said Beth Brookhouser, SPCA vice president of communications. “Our wildlife rescue team gave him pain relievers, intravenous fluids and antibiotics, and put him to sleep to remove the hooks and heal his injuries.
The next day the gull was alert and ate on its own, but it was still weak and needed several weeks to recover.
Brookhouser said the SPCA wanted community members to properly dispose of broken or leftover fishing gear and never leave fishing lines, hooks, lures or bait behind. Most local fishing sites offer designated fishing gear disposal containers, she said.
When fish are caught and released with hooks still inside, a gull or other predator will consume it and itself be seriously injured by the hook. Brookhouser has asked catch and release fishermen to use barbless hooks.
“If you find an animal tangled in the fishing line, contact the SPCA,” she says. “Do not try to remove the barbed hooks yourself, as they can cause more damage.”
The SPCA Wildlife Center is available for emergency wildlife rescues 24 hours a day. To report injured, sick or orphaned wildlife in Monterey County, please call 831-264-5427.
Each year, the SPCA Wildlife Center rescues over 2,500 injured or orphaned wildlife. Those interested in donating visit www.SPCAmc.org/donate.