Public appeal over gannet caught on baited hook

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A GANNET had to be put down after it was found to have swallowed a home-made baited hook designed “to cause deliberate harm”, an animal welfare charity has said.

A member of the public found the distressed bird on Puldrite beach on Orkney with a nylon line and plastic bottle lodged in its beak. Attached to the line was the hook, which the bird had ingested.

X-rays revealed the hook had moved from the gannet’s throat into the neck, meaning the gull could not survive its removal. Vets decided to put it down.

The Scottish SPCA is appealing for anyone with information to get in touch in a bid to establish if the seabird had been deliberately targeted.

Senior SSPCA inspector Mike Lynch said: “This type of bait is extremely cruel and indiscriminate, and could injure seals and otters as well as birds so we are urging anyone with information to contact us or the police.”

Anyone who is found to be guilty of causing an animal unnecessary suffering can be banned from keeping animals for a fixed period or life.

People with information are being urged to call the Scottish SPCA on 03000 999 999 or Kirkwall police on 01856 872241.

Gannets chicks were once caught for food in the islands, a tradition which still persists.