Juvenile sea eagle pierced by fishing hook dangles from nest at Sungei Buloh

It was tangled in a cluster of fishing lines.

Ashley Tan | May 19, 2022, 11:42 AM

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An unfortunate juvenile white-bellied sea eagle was found entangled in a lump of fishing line, causing it to dangle precariously from its nest at Sungei Buloh.

Dangling from nest

A fellow birdwatcher first noticed the juvenile sea eagle with a fishing hook in its beak on May 14.

Photo from David Tan / FB

The eagle nest was located near the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve Visitor Centre, and wildlife photographer Bernard Seah subsequently went down to check out the situation on May 15.

By then, it appeared that the eagle had somehow gotten its wing tangled in the fishing line as well.

Meanwhile, the tangled cluster of fishing lines was caught on the branches of the nest, causing the bird to dangle from the nest.

Photo courtesy of Bernard Seah / FB

Photo courtesy of Bernard Seah / FB

A video Seah shared showed the bird struggling in an awkward position, with one wing and leg bound.

Video courtesy of Bernard Seah / FB

Seah observed that the juvenile's parents and sibling remained nearby, and the two adults would chase off any crows that got too close to their babies.

Eagle eventually broke free

Seah revealed that at the time, the National Parks Board (NParks) was aware of the situation and monitoring the bird closely.

Seah told Mothership that many at Sungei Buloh were concerned and had alerted NParks as well.

Another passer-by who was present, and goes by the name "Bee Bee" on Facebook, shared that concerned birdwatchers and NParks staff were grouped around the tree "trying to work out what to do to rescue the bird".

Bee Bee urged anglers to practice sustainable fishing and dispose of their fishing gear properly to avoid harming wildlife.

The next day on May 16, Seah shared in an update that the juvenile sea eagle eventually managed to break free from its trappings, and fell from the tree.

He told Mothership that part of the fishing equipment the eagle was entangled in had likely given way.

Seah added that NParks had been on "standby" since 6:50am on May 15.

Once the bird was on the ground, it was picked up by NParks staff and whisked away to a veterinarian.

"After more than 24 hours of struggling, food deprivation and being suspended by a clutter of fishing hooks and lines, we hope the eagle will recover from this ordeal," he said.

Mothership understands that the eagle is currently being rehabilitated at Jurong Bird Park.

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Top photo courtesy of Bernard Seah