Published: February 13, 2013
Daring rescue unfolds for stricken gull caught in fishing line

Mervyn with the gull - SWNSA herring gull is lucky to be alive thanks to the amazing rescue efforts of wildlife worker Mervyn Gratton and three-on-the spot police dog handlers.

The drama unfolded at 2am last Monday when Mervyn, pictured right, who works for East Huntspill's Secret World Wildlife Rescue, was called to a lake on an industrial estate at Dunball near Bridgwater.

There, he found a squad of police dog handlers on a night training exercise who
had spotted the gull caught in fishing line and swinging from a tree out in deep water.

"I tried to reach the helpless bird but the water was so deep it came over my waders and soaked me to the waist before I could get close enough," said Mervyn, who is on an animal care course at Secret World.

"Meanwhile the policeman had managed to find an old pallet and a couple of cylinders and attempted to lash together a raft but it proved too unstable," he
"Then one of them found an old canoe in a skip, tied his dog harness to it as a safety line, paddled out by torchlight and managed to fee the gull."

"But then the craft began to fill with water and I just managed to pull him in before it sank," he said. "It was a real team effort and I was truly impressed by the resourceful initiative taken by the dog handlers."

He took the gull, nick-named Gilbert, back to Secret World, where he was checked out and found to be none the worse for his ordeal. Mervyn then gave him a VIP lift back to the site and released him.

Mervyn holding the hook and line that the gull got tangled up with - SWNS

Pictured: Mervyn with the rescued gull and, above, holding the hook and line that it got tangled up with. Pics: Adam Gray/SWNS


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