Kudos to snorkeler Jonathan Knapp for being in the right place at the right time. That was good news for a barred owl caught in fishing line tangled in trees above the James River in Missouri recently.
Firefighters had attempted to release the owl from the line, but their equipment couldn’t reach the bird. Knapp, who often snorkels in the Ozarks waters, waded into the cold river and used the tree trimmer fastened to a pole to cut the line, freeing the owl on his second try, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. The owl miraculously landed in his right hand.
Wildlife rehabilitators have tended to the bird’s damaged wing and the owl is expected to be released back into the wild later this month.
Fishing is not only deadly to fish, it is wreaking havoc on waterways in general and the wildlife who call it home such as whales, seals, turtles and birds. In 2018 , a study revealed that the world’s largest collection of floating trash—which lies between Hawaii and California—is largely comprised of discarded fishing gear. The study found that fishing nets account for 46 percent of the trash, with the majority of the rest composed of other fishing industry gear, including ropes, oyster spacers, eel traps, crates and baskets.
The best way to be part of the solution is to stop eating seafood. You can also participate in Coastal Cleanups near waterways where you live. For information on how to get started, visit oceanconservancy.org. For our vegan starter guide, click here.