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Swan euthanized after fishing line fiasco in El Dorado County. Experts urge caution.

Wildlife experts urge caution amid fishing line fiasco in El Dorado County
Wildlife experts urge caution amid fishing line fiasco in El Dorado County 02:29

CAMERON PARK — A fiasco in El Dorado County has wildlife experts urging fishermen and the community alike to be careful of what they do with fishing lines.

Leslie Ackerman with Sierra Wildlife Rescue was called in to save a swan at Cameron Park Lake after residents saw the bird struggling, wrapped in the fishing line.

"The swan itself was in the water," Ackerman said. "I could see her bleeding around her neck. She had a fishing line stuck in her mouth and had swallowed. I didn't know how much at the time."

Ackerman was able to capture the swan. Once at a veterinarian, X-rays showed the extent of her injuries.

"I was a little taken aback as to how much filament was inside her," Ackerman said. "It had completely accordioned her intestines and the vet just said, 'No.' "

The swan had to be euthanized. Ackerman believes an incident the day before led to its injuries. Several containers placed around the park for discarded fishing lines had been opened. Their contents were emptied on the ground.

"Apparently, someone had sorted through the stuff that falls out looking for a useful lure, but nobody that cares would leave that useful plus on the ground," Ackerman said.

John Bailey, who frequents the area, said this isn't the first time something like this has happened. He comes ready with nail clippers ready to free birds.

"When I come down here, it's always in my pocket," he said.

Jann Nichols took it a step further by creating an organization called Project Pick Up Fishing Line, which patrols several lakes in Sacramento County.

"I've got, since August 7, bins full at home of fishing lines and one of the rescue guys has 1,500 lures," Nichols said.

Their goal is to help protect wildlife, which thinks the lures are real.

"It's not just birds. It's other animals, too," Ackerman said. "We've had foxes tangled up in this. Raccoons."

Wildlife experts and lake lovers are calling on people to pick up lines and lures to prevent injuries to wildlife.

"Until you see just how bad it is in person—I don't know if people realize it," Ackerman said.

If you see an injured animal, please call Sierra Wildlife Rescue. Capturing an injured animal already under stress can injure them further or yourself.

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