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Loon Loses Second Battle with Discarded Fishing Supplies

On June 11 the Wildlife Medical Clinic triumphantly returned a rehabilitated common loon to the wild after treating it for starvation and bruises suffered because its beak and head were entangled in discarded fishing line.

But two days later conservation officers at Homer Lake, where the bird had been released, realized that the bird was in trouble again. They brought it back to the clinic housed in the Veterinary Teaching Hospital. This time, a radiograph revealed a new—and much more serious—problem: a fishing hook lodged deep in the bird's esophagus. The bird died a little over 24 hours after the hook was removed endoscopically.

According to Beth Ellen McNamara and Michele Forbes, veterinary students who co-manage the wildlife clinic, many waterfowl and turtles are brought to the clinic each year with injuries, ranging from severed legs to an inability to eat, inflicted by supplies carelessly left by fishers.

The Wildlife Medical Clinic treats more than 2,000 animals a year and is supported by tax-deductible donations. Find out how you can help at www.cvm.uiuc.edu/wmc/.

[Dr. Rhonda Schulman, veterinary technician Kristie Stasi, and students Beth Ellen McNamara and Michele Forbes remove a fish hook endoscopically from a loon.] [xray of a loon that swallowed a fish hook]

A fish hook was removed from the loon's esophagus endoscopically by Dr. Rhonda Schulman, with the help of veterinary technician Kristie Stasi and Medical Wildlife Clinic co-managers Beth Ellen McNamara and Michele Forbes. The bird had to be resuscitated twice during the procedure, but survived, only to die the following day.

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