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Alarming trend: Increase in birds entangled in fishing gear from Metro Vancouver lakes

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The Wildlife Rescue Association of B.C. is sounding the alarm about a rapid rise in the number of calls it's getting for birds entangled in fishing gear.

“So there’s a lot of things that are left behind unintentionally or forgotten around these smaller lakes in (the) Metro Vancouver area that can be harmful for wildlife,” said the group’s executive director Linda Bakker.

In the past two weeks, the Burnaby-based organization received seven reports of birds with fishing line tangled around their legs and hooks through their beaks. Rescue staff and volunteers have managed to capture and treat three of them.

“When a bird is still flighted, it’s very difficult to grab them or to rescue them. So it involves a lot of planning. We have excellent, trained rescue teams that will go out,” said Bakker. “Usually you only have one shot, one chance to grab an animal, because then they will be spooked.”

The increase in entangled bird calls has pushed the small non-profit to its limits. “It definitely puts pressure on our resources,” said Bakker.

So the rescue is asking anyone fishing on lakes and rivers in Metro Vancouver to be extra careful with lines, lures and hooks.

“At a lot of lakes, it really easy to dispose of your fishing line, there are special bins set up. So if you can, please use that,” Bakker said. “If it does wash up on the shore or you notice it somewhere, please pick it up and take it out, even if not yours.”

And if people see birds that have become entangled, she urges them to call the Wildlife Rescue Association

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