Aussie hailed a 'legend’ for rescue of bloodied ibis

The rescuer explains he often goes to varying 'heights and depths' to rescue wildlife.

A wildlife rescuer has been praised for his "dedication" after trekking in neck-high water to rescue a bleeding and stranded ibis last week.

William Watson received a call from wildlife rangers at Bli Bli Barra fishing park on the Sunshine Coast and quickly submerged himself in the flowing river to retrieve the native bird.

"It had a fishing line attached to a hook in its wing that was wrapped around a tree... It wasn't too well, it had tried to free itself all night," Mr Watson from Wildlife Noosa told Yahoo News Australia.

After reaching the ibis and untangling it, the rescuer waded back across the river using only one hand while carrying the "stressed" bird with the other, before transporting it to a nearby vet for medical assistance.

Left, the bleeding ibis can be seen on the tree. Right, the wildlife rescuer walks into the water holding a large net.
Wildlife rescuer William Watson wades through a flowing river in the Sunshine Coast to help a bleeding ibis. Source: Supplied
Mr Watson pictured left examining the injured ibis, and right, swimming it back to shore. Source: Supplied
After untangling the bird, Mr Watson swam back using only one arm while holding the ibis with his other. Source: Supplied

Rescue video gains over 12,000 likes

The wildlife organisation created a short video documenting the rescue and was quickly inundated with thankful Aussies calling the rescue "heroic".

"Such a good rescue from a very difficult location," one wrote online, while many others thanked the "legend" for his efforts.

Despite the high praise, the wildlife rescuer deemed his behaviour simply part of the job.

"Sometimes we go to heights and depths," he told Yahoo News nonchalantly.

Video highlights 'really big problem' facing native wildlife

The wildlife rescuer said he has dealt with many rescues involving fishing line and hooks with the equipment easily debilitating wildlife.

"Fishing line entanglement is massive in the oceans and rivers... A lot of wildlife drown from fishing lines and hooks because it gets caught up and they can't get out of the water," he said.

The broken hook attached to an artificial bait that injured the ibis. Source: Supplied
The hook was attached to an artificial bait believed to have attracted the ibis. Source: Supplied

WIRES confirmed wildlife entangled from fishing lines and hooks is a "really big problem" in the country and one simple measure could help significantly minimise the risks they pose.

"The big message is to please, if there aren't any council bins for disposal, take it home and dispose of it there," a spokesperson said.

"It's increasingly causing entanglement issues for wildlife and for the rescuers. And, sadly, those outcomes are often fatal... What happens by the time you find them, the damage has been done."

Mr Watson confirmed the ibis he rescued later died from its injuries.

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