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

Police recover body of Tofino man near Hot Springs Cove

An RCMP dive team has recovered the body of a Tofino man in his 50s.

Winter hits Tofino and Ucluelet with snow and power outages

Ucluelet’s new public works foreman tackles town’s first snowfall first day on the job.

Dylan Green set to launch B.C.’s first ride-hailing app in Tofino

The Whistle! app will be available in Tofino on Feb.1 and in Whistler Feb. 6.

UPDATED: Itska back in owner’s arms after Oak Bay man returns dog taken from Tofino

Shannon Boothman expects to be reunited with Itska on Sunday

Anti-pipeline protests in support of Wet’suwet’en continue at B.C. government buildings

‘We are unarmed, they have guns,’ protesters chanted on Wednesday morning

Horgan unveils B.C. cabinet shuffle changes

Premier John Horgan has made three major changes to his cabinet

Advocates call hospital parking fees a ‘shakedown’ after learning most Island tickets are waived

Victoria General and Royal Jubilee hospitals among the most ticketed on the Island

Dog reunited with Tofino owner, months after being taken from beach

Shannon Boothman ‘ecstatic’ at pet’s return after a tip leads to social media search

Councillor resigns in Revelstoke after colleagues approved 67% raise

Council approved a 134 per cent raise for the mayor of Revelstoke

Rolled-over dairy truck in Abbotsford lost 40,000 litres of milk

Truck removed Sunday, Jan. 19, with specialized equipment to upright vehicle

Boy, 13, arrested after alleged assault involving girl at B.C. middle school

Boy alleged to have used ‘inappropriate levels of force’ to injure the girl

B.C. premier talks forestry, service needs with handful of northern mayors in Prince George

Prince George meeting completes premier’s tour of Kitimat, Terrace, Fort St. James and Quesnel

B.C. asks health-care staff to be ‘vigilant’ when screening for coronavirus

This comes after U.S. health officials confirmed a case of the virus in Washington State

Most Read