HEARTBREAKING pictures show the horrific injuries suffered by a swan after it was impaled by a triple-barbed fishing hook.
The legally-protected bird was spotted covered in blood while swimming around Hogganfield Loch in Glasgow over the weekend.
Local wildlife rangers launched a rescue mission to lure the bird to safety after receiving several calls from concerned locals.
Distressing images show the rescue operation as well as the efforts vets had to go to extract the vicious hook, discarded by a fisherman.
Happily, the adult male is set to make a full recovery and should be released back into the wild next week.
Campaigners say the incident should be a reminded to all fisherman to take care with lines and hooks that injure and kills hundreds of animals annually.
The swan was in danger of starving to death as the hook, which was impaled in her tongue, meant he could not eat.
After refusing to go near rescuers trying to lure her in with bread, the bird was finally captured by council rangers while she was grooming herself on an embankment.
A spokeswoman at Hessilhead Wildlife Centre, in Beith, North Ayrshire, said: “The hook was in the swan’s tongue so must have been exceedingly painful for it and would have stopped him from feeding.
“Usually they are able to be lured with bread but on this occasion he wasn’t interested.
“We got several calls about it on Sunday so put in a call to Glasgow Countryside Rangers who are closer and have had training with us so could get to her a lot faster.”
Jackie Clark, one of the rangers responsible for saving the swan, said: “People were asking if it was dead because it was covered in blood and had its head tucked under. It was horrendous to see.
“We tried for several hours on Monday to coax her out with no luck. I went in on my day off on Tuesday and was lucky.
“It was preening itself so I snuck up behind her at the back and managed to hook a swan hook over while my colleagues pinned her wings down.We took her to Hessilhead where they gave her anesthetic at each side of her mouth and then used pliers to push the barb back out.
“There’s a small section of the loch open to anglers so what we think happened is a hook got stuck in one of the rocky parts and an anglers pulled ans snapped it then left it. Because its shiny its obviously captured the swans curiosity.
“We’re hoping to put some posters up saying the injured swan was caught and is recuperating and hopefully put a wee nice and polite note to say to be aware of finishing lines.
“We don’t think it was done maliciously but for me that was one of the worst injuries I’ve seen.”
Scottish SPCA Animal Rescue Officer, Amy Robb said: “There was a lot of blood and the swan was in pain. The rangers at Hogganfield Loch were great and with their help the swan was caught and the hook removed.
“We urge the public to be more careful with their fishing hooks and line when disposing of them as we deal with so many incidents which are very similar on a weekly basis.
“The hooks can get stuck to their limbs, face, mouth and if swallowed, it can cause internal damage. This could so easily be avoided by clearing away every piece of equipment.”
Hogganfield Loch, which has won a green flag for its environmental quality, is home to 200 swans.
A spokeswoman for Glasgow City Council said: “A member of the public alerted to rangers that there was a swan covered in blood.
“The countryside ranger went and had a look and found it with blood and what looked like a silver bracelet hanging from it’s mouth.
“Our rangers went out and managed to put it in a swan bag and take it to the Hessilhead rescue centre in Beith.
“There are signs up in the park to phone Hessilhead Wildlife Rescue if any members of the public see the birds in distress.”
Earlier this year police vowed to tackle illegal fishing in a park in Kirkcaldy, Fife following the death of a swan.
Officers said they planned to seize equipment from anybody found angling at the Beveridge Park following the death of the bird.
The swan became entangled in discarded line and subsequently died of its injuries, despite fishing being illegal at the pond.