Veterinarian Ian Lawrie of Chase River Veterinary Hospital releases a swan near the Nanaimo River estuary. The swan was found earlier that morning tangled in a fishing net and nearly drowned. (Photo submitted)

Swan saved after near-drowning in Nanaimo estuary

Campers, veterinarians contribute to bird’s rescue and recovery

A swan that was found bedraggled and nearly drowned made it back from the brink.

Frank Vosshans rescued a swan caught in a discarded fishing net Sunday in the Nanaimo River estuary and Chase River Veterinary Hospital oversaw the bird’s recovery.

Vosshans, camping with his wife at Living Forest Campground, noticed some splashing in the estuary early Sunday morning.

“I … grabbed my binoculars and saw that it was a swan wrapped up in a discarded fish net,” Vosshans said. “I went home, grabbed my boat, went out, got the swan; it was three-quarters drowned.”

Ian Lawrie, veterinarian, said the bird was limp when it was brought in.

“It was bordering on lifeless and totally non-responsive. It was in pretty rough shape,” he said. “We found that it was totally exhausted and hypothermic. It was super cold and had burned up all its energy stores.”

An infrared heating bed helped to warm up the swan.

“Once his body temperature came up, he started to become more and more responsive and within probably a few hours, he was able to actually stand and hiss at us,” Lawrie said.

Later that same day, the swan had made a full recovery and Lawrie and Vosshans released it in the same place it had been found. The bird appeared confused for a few moments, but then, with a flapping start, took off and flew more than half a kilometre away, where it landed, preened, and eventually met up with its bevy.

“As soon as I saw him take off and fly like that, I knew he was absolutely fine,” Lawrie said, adding that it was rewarding to see the swan’s recovery.

The vet said he hopes a lesson can come from the incident, suggesting that the discarded net “wasn’t responsible fishing” and said he’s seen other birds, such as eagles and loons, become tangled and hurt in fishing gear.

Vosshans expressed thanks to the “amazing people” at the veterinary hospital, who didn’t charge for the care provided, and said the swan’s recovery was awesome to see.

“I just about started crying when he took off running across the water and then flew away,” he said.



editor@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Shawnigan Lake’s Kubica gets 25 to life for murder in California

Former Shawnigan Lake man convicted of killing woman in 1990

Who’s running in Cowichan?

A list of Cowichan candidates for the upcoming provincial election

Police seek help in naming Cowichan farmstand theft suspect

Video captured man prying cash box out stand on Norcross Road

Duration of Tour de Rock stop in Chemainus much shorter than usual

Four alumni riders don’t get to come for breakfast in COVID year

New program helps pregnant women and new mothers using drugs in Cowichan

The Healthy Care Pregnancy Program pairs a registered social worker or nurse with a pregnant woman

Weekend sees 267 cases, 3 deaths in B.C.; Dr. Henry says events leading to COVID spread

There are currently 1,302 active cases in B.C., while 3,372 people are under public health monitoring

Lightning strike: Tampa Bay blanks Dallas 2-0 to win Stanley Cup

Hedman wins Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP

Liberals seek to fast track new COVID-19 aid bill after CERB expires

Government secured NDP support for legislation by hiking amount of benefits by $100 to $500 per week

B.C. VOTES 2020: Echoes of HST in B.C. debate over sales tax

Cannabis, tobacco, luxury cars still taxed in B.C. Liberal plan

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

She warned her son about toxic drugs, then he was dead

Donna Bridgman’s son died at the age of 38 in Vancouver

B.C. food and beverage producers set record sales in 2019

Farmed salmon again leads international exports

Pedestrian dies in motor vehicle incident along the highway near Nanaimo Airport

Police investigating scene where 37-year-old woman from Nanaimo died

Most Read