Rescuers have managed to free a heron trapped in netting by pouncing on it in a pond in Eastville Park.
Armed with just a knife and a net, Andrew Gee and Rick Thomas decided to intervene on Sunday morning while the freshwater bird bathed.
The heron – who had been unable to eat since getting its beak caught on netting last week – was described by Andrew as “weakened” and “very thin”.
It has since been placed in the care of Secret World Wildlife Rescue, a specialist animal rehabilitation centre based in Somerset.
Andrew, who runs Frome Fairies, said: “We were able to throw the net over him from a couple of metres away. He didn’t panic and we were able to quickly remove him from the net.
“The cotton material around his beak was wrapped so tightly, keeping both top and bottom of his beak literally clamped in a vice.
“There was absolutely no way he has been feeding during the past week. He felt very thing and his crop was completely empty.
“We were just in the right place in the right time I guess.”
The heron is believed to be part of a larger group which often frequent Eastville Park lake.
Richard Scantlebury, who is the chair of Friends of Eastville Park, said he hopes to see the bird back at the lake in due course.
“If it survives the treatment – and it is early days yet – but it would be nice to see it back in the park,” he said.
“I hope they mark it in some way, just so we can say ‘that’s our heron’!”
The bird was first spotted with netting – which was described as similar to a washing machine tablet bag – on its beak on April 25.
Andrew said he hopes this near tragedy will deter people from littering in the park or the river in the future.
“Most people wouldn’t believe how much rubbish – large and very small – we bag up on a regular basis just from the river around the weir area,” he added.
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