Rescue operation frees egret from fishing line

Writer: Zhang Yu  |  Editor: Zhang Chanwen  |  From: Shenzhen Daily  |  Updated: 2023-05-26

An egret that had been trapped at the top of a tree for two days with its right foot entangled in a fishing line was set free and returned to nature after the joint rescue efforts of citizens, media, community staffers and wildlife conservation management personnel, reported.

On Wednesday evening, a citizen surnamed Chen who worked at Mashantou Third Industrial Zone in Guangming District heard flapping noises outside her window. She followed the sound and discovered a large white bird flapping its wings and emitting distressed cries.

An egret is trapped at the top of a tree in Guangming District.

Chen promptly filmed the scene and contacted, a local Chinese media outlet. The video revealed the white bird perched on a tree branch in the rain, its feet entangled in something, rendering it unable to fly away.

A reporter from the news outlet immediately reached out to the city’s wildlife protection and management office, which dispatched staffers to investigate the situation.

A community worker boards a crane to rescue a white bird.

According to Chen, the white bird had been spotted on the tree since Tuesday, initially mistaken as merely resting. It wasn’t until Wednesday that people realized that the bird was trapped as it remained in the same position.

Upon learning the news, Mashantou Community Workstation staffers, personnel from the Guangming Management Bureau of the Shenzhen Municipal Planning and Natural Resources Bureau, and compassionate citizens all felt anxious and hoped to save the white bird as soon as possible.

A staffer from Mashantou Community Workstation holds up the right foot of an egret trapped in a fishing line. 

At around 9 p.m., community staffers boarded a crane and embarked on a rescue mission that lasted nearly 40 minutes.

Experts identified the bird as an egret. The on-site staffers speculated that while foraging near the water, the egret’s right foot inadvertently got caught in a fishing line. Seeking refuge, the bird flew to a nearby tree but became trapped in the process. After the egret was rescued, the fishing line was promptly removed.

In China, egrets are classified as terrestrial animals with important ecological, scientific and social value. Other such animals commonly seen include sparrows, geckos, toads, pheasants and hares.