Eagle tangled in fishing line at Upper Seletar Reservoir regains freedom with the help from passers-by

Fly free, birb.

Zi Shan Kow | July 13, 2021, 10:01 AM

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An unfortunate White-bellied sea eagle found itself in a tight spot at Upper Seletar Reservoir due to an abandoned fishing line.

On July 6, Alice Tan was on a leisurely stroll with her friend at Upper Seletar Reservoir when they spotted the majestic-looking bird struggling in the water.

They hurried over and alerted nearby park goers for help.

Eagle struggling in water Eagle struggling in the water. Photo courtesy of Alice Tan.

Man approaches eagle to help Man approaches eagle to help. Photo courtesy of Alice Tan.

Tan told Mothership that the eagle's foot was caught by a fishing line, and passers-by managed to free it by untangling it with their hands.

Alice Tan posted photos and videos of the incident on the Nature Society (Singapore) Facebook group.

In the video, a man is first seen steadying the eagle on the coast by holding onto the eagle's shoulders.

The eagle took flight into the reservoir, where it ended up in the water again.

Finally, after swimming back to shore, it took off into the skies as its rescuers cheered.

White-bellied Sea Eagle

The White-bellied Sea Eagle is the largest resident raptor in Singapore.

It has a wingspan of about 2m, a white head and underparts with a grey upper body and a wedge-shaped tail.

They are often seen soaring over large water bodies like reservoirs and sea coasts in search for fish and crustaceans.

White-bellied Sea Eagle Image courtesy of Francis Yap

Enjoy fishing without causing harm to wildlife

Fishing is permitted at selected reservoirs like Upper Seletar Reservoir, Bedok Reservoir and MacRitchie Reservoir.

However, members of the public are to only keep to designated fishing locations in these reservoirs.

The National Parks Board advises anglers to dispose of trash such as fishing lines, old hooks and bait into litter bins so as to not pollute the park and water where wildlife use or reside in.

To minimise impact, anglers should practise catch-and-release when fishing, that means releasing the fish back into the water as quickly as possible if it is an endangered species or juvenile.

Certain marine species in our waters are also protected. It is illegal to import, take, trap, keep, kill and sell them.

Top images courtesy of Alice Tan