Veterinarian Ian Lawrie of Chase River Veterinary Hospital releases a swan near the Nanaimo River estuary. The swan was found earlier that morning tangled in a fishing net and nearly drowned. (Photo submitted)

Swan saved after near-drowning in Nanaimo estuary

Campers, veterinarians contribute to bird’s rescue and recovery

A swan that was found bedraggled and nearly drowned made it back from the brink.

Frank Vosshans rescued a swan caught in a discarded fishing net Sunday in the Nanaimo River estuary and Chase River Veterinary Hospital oversaw the bird’s recovery.

Vosshans, camping with his wife at Living Forest Campground, noticed some splashing in the estuary early Sunday morning.

“I … grabbed my binoculars and saw that it was a swan wrapped up in a discarded fish net,” Vosshans said. “I went home, grabbed my boat, went out, got the swan; it was three-quarters drowned.”

Ian Lawrie, veterinarian, said the bird was limp when it was brought in.

“It was bordering on lifeless and totally non-responsive. It was in pretty rough shape,” he said. “We found that it was totally exhausted and hypothermic. It was super cold and had burned up all its energy stores.”

An infrared heating bed helped to warm up the swan.

“Once his body temperature came up, he started to become more and more responsive and within probably a few hours, he was able to actually stand and hiss at us,” Lawrie said.

Later that same day, the swan had made a full recovery and Lawrie and Vosshans released it in the same place it had been found. The bird appeared confused for a few moments, but then, with a flapping start, took off and flew more than half a kilometre away, where it landed, preened, and eventually met up with its bevy.

“As soon as I saw him take off and fly like that, I knew he was absolutely fine,” Lawrie said, adding that it was rewarding to see the swan’s recovery.

The vet said he hopes a lesson can come from the incident, suggesting that the discarded net “wasn’t responsible fishing” and said he’s seen other birds, such as eagles and loons, become tangled and hurt in fishing gear.

Vosshans expressed thanks to the “amazing people” at the veterinary hospital, who didn’t charge for the care provided, and said the swan’s recovery was awesome to see.

“I just about started crying when he took off running across the water and then flew away,” he said.



editor@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Collective agreement met between UFCW 1518 and IGA

Membership voted strongly in favour of the collective agreement, which came days after negotiations.

Safety board issues letters over rail crash that killed three workers in Woss

The safety board conducted the investigation at the request of the Transportation Ministry

SD85’s spring break schedule may change to two-weeks but would overlap Easter

“This makes absolutely no sense to me,” Barrett stated in a letter to school trustees.

UPDATE: Police say false bomb threat came from computer and printer in the school

“The threat was a hoax by a student,” said Port McNeill RCMP.

Winds of up to 90 km/hr predicted to hit Vancouver Island

Environment Canada is warning that loose objects may cause damage

Man caught on camera allegedly trying to defraud ICBC

Auto-insurer warns B.C. drivers to record info after crashes

Warning issued as forecast calls for 20-foot waves in Tofino

Dangerous waves, strong currents and upper-shoreline flooding expected for Tofino-Ucluelet area

Oil tanker ban to be reviewed by committee

Indigenous groups for and against Bill C-48 travel to Ottawa to influence the Senate’s decision

An 800-pound pig named Theodore needs a forever home, B.C. society says

‘Theodore is not destined to be somebody’s bacon’

Teenager Alphonso Davies wins Canadian Men’s Soccer Player for the Year Award

Derek Cornelius and Chilliwack native, Jordyn Huitema were named Canadian Youth International Players of the Year

B.C. teen MMA fighter shows heart

Young Unity MMA competitors bring home Ws

2,000 Canadians died of an overdose in first 6 months of the year

New data from the Public Health Agency of Canada shows the crisis is not subsiding

Another B.C. city votes to ban single-use plastic bags

First six months of proposed ban would focus on education, not enforcement

Most Read