Call to ban fishing at Middleton Park lake in Leeds after cygnet is injured

There have been calls to ban fishing on the lake in Middleton Park after a cygnet was almost killed by a fishing hook.

Saturday, 13th June 2020, 11:45 am

A petition, signed by almost 100 people, is calling on Leeds City Council to consider a temporary or permanent ban on fishing in the lake due to some fishers "who are irresponsible".

Yorkshire Swan Rescue Hospital had to perform cosmetic surgery on a young swan this week after its beak was badly damaged by a hook.

In a separate and unrelated incident at Knowsthorpe water treatment works, two swans and their eggs were shot and killed.

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Swans and a cygnet.

The Friends of Middleton Park have also called on people to respect wildlife in the lake - and even called on people to stop throwing stones at the birds.

A Change.org petition, created by Danielle Casey, states: "The pond currently has a number of baby cygnets and other wildlife and there have been a number of occasions in the last few weeks where the swans and cygnets have been injured due to being caught in fishing wire.

"There are too many fishing with long lines in such a small pond.

"Also, there are many who are irresponsible, leaving lines unattended and discarding them in the lake.

"The amount of lines mean the swans, cygnets and other wildlife on the pond have nowhere to go and are constantly getting tangled in the wire.

"There was an incident where the mother and baby were tangled together, which almost resulted in the death of one of the cygnets.

"Lucky it survived but suffered a badly damaged beak and had to be rescued from the family."

Danielle added that she would "love to see a ban on fishing", even if it is only while wildlife is nesting on the lake.

The Friends of Middleton Park called on people to play their part in ensuring the swans and their young "have as good a chance in life as they can".

In a statement, they said: “Please could we all take a little time when visiting the park and the lake to see the proud parents and the cygnets to just think about our actions.

“Those who want to fish, please be very careful (as I know most of you are) with your lines and what you leave behind.

"Please do not leave lines unattended, and be careful where your floats go.

“Those who are walking their dogs – please do keep them on a lead whilst around the lake and do NOT at this time allow them into the water.

“Those with children (of any age 8-80!) – please do NOT allow them to harass or get too close to the swans or their cygnets, and obviously the throwing of stones at any of the birds is just stupid.

“Above all, please could we ALL respect the wildlife in the lake…and especially the swans and their young.”

The cygnet with the injured beak is "looking much better now" according to Yorkshire Swan Rescue Hospital.