Wounded spoonbill loses wing

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 06 March, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 06 March, 2004, 12:00am

A black-faced spoonbill found injured by fish hooks in January has had a wing amputated after the wound became infected, the Bird Watching Society said yesterday.

The bird, which is a globally endangered species, was found near Shenzhen River, in San Tin, with a fish hook and line attached embedded in its wing.

It was saved by bird watchers and taken to Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden for treatment. But due to the infection, a veterinary surgeon decided to amputate the wing.

The operation was completed successfully on February 19. However, the bird will never be able to return to the wild.

Lines of fish hooks were seen by bird watchers strung over at least two fish ponds within 500 metres of the injured bird on the day it was found.

Mike Milburn, vice-chairman of the Hong Kong Bird Watching Society, said the practice of setting fish hooks was clearly designed to kill or catch birds rather than scaring them away from ponds.

'Despite being illegal, birds are killed in Deep Bay every year by these hooks. Two black-faced spoonbills were victims of the same fish ponds last year.'