Treble hook fishing lure seriously injures an adult tern and chick

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Photos by Kelly Berry

Update July 8, 2014 from our vet: “Wounds are healing well but both parent and chick still have guarded prognosis for full return to function. Chick has elbow and leg problems, parent has wing problem.” We will continue to update you when we know more. Thanks for your concern. –IBR Staff

We regularly care for seabirds seriously wounded by fishing hooks. But this case may be a tragic first.

On Monday, our Los Angeles center received an adult Elegant Tern with a chick. Both were found at Terminal Island snagged together byELTE a fishing lure with three treble hooks — one embedded in the adult’s left wing, the other two attached to the chick’s left leg and wing.

We’ve seen cases of monofilament fishing line entangling and injuring multiple seabirds, but this may be our first case of a fishing lure wounding both parent and chick, who were separated by our team and treated with antibiotics as soon as possible. At this time the prognosis is guarded.

Terns are common patients for our centers, and many have suffered at the hands of humans. We cared for oiled Sandwich Terns during the Gulf spill in 2010 and raised orphaned tern chicks during a 2006 incident were workers in Long Beach used high-pressure hoses to illegally remove hundreds of nests situated on a barge. Last fall, our San Francisco Bay center cared for an Elegant Tern with a gunshot injury — also very much illegal, as terns are protected under federal law.

We’ll keep you posted on the condition of these special patients under our team’s expert care.

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You can make a contribution to support these terns’ care by clicking here.

3 thoughts on “Treble hook fishing lure seriously injures an adult tern and chick”

  1. I hope the prognosis moves from guarded to good. Terns are amazing birds and they deserve better from us than this………

  2. So glad they’re in your care! One of my favorite ducklings at the lake got one of those nasty hooks in him and we couldn’t get it all out, so he had to go to a rescue. He ended up being OK, fortunately, but it must have hurt horribly! I was just glad I could catch him.

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