Tuesday, August 02, 2022

Andrea Wener, Jim Lenihan,and Seamus O’Kelly from Kilkenny Sub Aqua Club on their way to rescue the injured swan on the River Barrow at Carlow Town Park

Jim Lenihan from Kilkenny Sub Aqua Club carries the injured swan to safety

The swan had fishing line and hooks wrapped around its wing and piercing into its foot


By Suzanne Pender

THE LIFE of one of the River Barrow’s majestic swans was saved this week thanks to the heroic efforts of Kilkenny Sub Aqua Club.

The injured swan was spotted on the river near Carlow Town Park, desperately wrapped in fishing wire, with one of the line’s hooks piercing through its foot and even more line wrapped around its wing.

“I was horrified at the condition of the poor bird, and it was very, very weak. The swan certainly wouldn’t have survived,” said Jim Lenihan, who was part of the team from Kilkenny Sub Aqua Club who rescued the bird.

The swan was initially spotted by Carlow resident Tamara Rychlikoba, who sought the help of ISPCA animal welfare inspector Fiona Conlon and set the wheels in motion for the swan’s rescue.

“Its left wing and leg were all tied up; it couldn’t fly and you could see the swan was all cut up and weak,” explained Tamara.

Tamara and several other concerned residents tried to lure the swan off the water so they could get it medical attention, but this proved incredibly difficult and the assistance of a boat was needed.

“Fiona arranged for a vet to see the swan and Nick Murphy from Kilkenny Sub Aqua was contacted and agreed to dispatch a boat,” said Tamara.

“A wonderful team of three came and they managed to reach the swan … they deserve the full credit for this; I’m just so touched that they took the time to come out and help,” added Tamara.

The team comprised of Jim Lenihan, who hails from Kilkenny, Andrea Wener from Graignamanagh and Seamus O’Kelly from Borris.

“The swan was in an isolated area that you could only access by boat,” explained Jim. He said the bird was caught in a large pike fishing line, attached to triple hooks five or six inches long that were pierced through her foot, cutting the bird and wrapped around its wing.

Andrea and Seamus restrained the swan and all three brought it to safety, with Tamara immediately bringing the bird to Vetcare, Tullow Road, Carlow for medical treatment.

“The swan was very badly cut up and weak with fishing line and hooks, but I heard it is making progress now and has been brought to Kildare Wildlife Rescue to recover,” said Tamara.

“I just want to make people aware of the sub aqua club. If it wasn’t for them dedicating their time, their expertise, their kindness and willingness to help, that swan would have died,” she said.

Kilkenny Sub Aqua have a trained, dedicated team for search and recovery that can only be called upon when directed by the gardaí or, in cases of animal welfare, the ISPCA.

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