Ipswich/Martlesham: Unruffled...the gull at centre of dramatic rescue

IPSWICH/MARTLESHAM: A gull which had its feathers ruffled when it became tangled in fishing line is today being nursed back to health – after sparking a full-scale river rescue.

Firefighters flew into action on Saturday after the stricken bird was discovered near the River Gipping close to Yarmouth Road in Ipswich.

But when crews were unable to reach the black-headed gull, a water rescue team was sent to the scene to complete the rescue mission.

The bird had attempted to free itself from the line, which had been discarded in a tree, but had become even more caught up as a result.

A spokeswoman for the RSPCA estimated the gull had been there for two hours before the fire service arrived.

But thanks to the rescue team’s quick response, the gull was saved – with only minor injuries to its wing.

It was today recuperating under the watchful eyes of staff at the RSPCA Suffolk East and Ipswich branch, based in Martlesham Heath.

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The RSPCA spokeswoman said: “It was a black-headed gull that had been stuck up there for about two hours.

“When we got to it we expected that he would have quite serious injuries.

“But after the fire service untangled him and cut him free we found that he had a small cut to the wing.

“We took it to the animal centre in Martlesham Heath where it will be looked after for the next couple of days.

“It will be kept in so that staff at the centre can help to get the blood flowing in the injured wing again.”

The drama unfolded shortly before 12.35pm on Saturday.

When the gull’s wounds are completely healed, it will be released into the wild.

The RSPCA appealed to anglers to always take their fishing lines home after using them because animals often get caught in them.

“We always urge anglers to take their lines home with them because animals can so easily get themselves caught up and they can be very seriously injured,” said the spokesman.

Paul Collins, the fire service’s area commander for response, previously told The Evening Star that firefighters enjoyed the job satisfaction of animal rescues.

He said: “Firefighters are very caring and there is a definite feel-good factor involved.

“Another aspect of the job is also reassuring owners of the pets – it can be distressing for both.”

n Has your pet been rescued by the fire service? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or you can send an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk