Swans will suffer as more ponds are opened to Heath anglers

Having just received the news that the Heath consultative committee has approved the proposal to remove protection from cygnets on Hampstead Heath waters, we as swan rescuers have to ask why. Anglers already have use of six of the nine Heath ponds This re

Having just received the news that the Heath consultative committee has approved the proposal to remove protection from cygnets on Hampstead Heath waters, we as swan rescuers have to ask why.

Anglers already have use of six of the nine Heath ponds This retrograde step is yet more proof of a callous disregard for the welfare of wildlife, and swans in particular.

It is obvious the committee has given no consideration to the increased suffering this will undoubtedly cause.

Neither has it considered the increased burden for the comparatively few rescuers who spend much time and money clearing up the damage caused to birds and other wildlife by lost and carelessly discarded fishing tackle, which can be found on every bankside where fishing takes place.


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Perhaps the committee may be planning to reimburse the rescue centres for vet bills, the expensive treatment, the after-care, the rehabilitation and their travelling costs? Or maybe even creating their own rescue unit which will be on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year - as volunteer rescue groups are.

The environment agency spends millions promoting angling. It produces pretty little leaflets suggesting how fishermen should behave and yet in the 30-plus years we have been in existence, nothing has changed. Swans and cygnets (and all wildlife) are still suffering and dying. Our costs are increasing and the pressures on our time are greater than they have ever been.

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Some 40 per cent of our call-outs are angling-related. This is a terrible reflection on the environment agency and fishermen in general, of their uncaring attitude towards others, but in particular to wildlife which has far more right to live peacefully in its own environment, without the constant persecution by those who selfishly want to take it away.

E KERSHAW

Swan Rescue, South Wales

SO the City of London Corporation is set to license anglers to fish in the Hampstead Heath ponds when the swans are breeding and they have recruited David Bellamy to chant some ecological mantras over this licence to kill.

Shame on David Bellamy and on the other cronies. Last year the so-called fishing pond was a no-go area for wildlife. Now the same treatment will be meted out to five other ponds. But of course there's no money to be made out of wildlife. Hampstead Heath should be in the hands of a conservation trust, not the money-loving City.

DAVID FORBES

Lamble Street, NW5

ANGLERS and swans do not mix, and nearly all my rescues which are other than 'crash landings' involve fishing litter - be it discarded line, hooks in any part of the swan's body including down the throat, and worst of all, triple pike hooks which are often set in a row on a lure so that there may be as many as nine actual hooks - the swan ends up with bleeding wings and feet. Such is the power of the angling lobby that the interests of wildlife always come second.

JUDITH SMITH

Ashton, Wigan, Lancs

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