A YOUNG bird of prey has been saved after ingesting hooks while feeding on a fish.

The white tailed sea eagle chick ended up with fishing line wrapped round him and had to undergo an operation to get the hooks removed after he was spotted by a conservation officer at Loch Arkaig, Lochaber, and taken to the Scottish SCPA.

The six-week-old bird has now been treated at the National Wildlife Rescue Centre in Alloa.

Conservation officer Lewis Pate said: "The fishing line was wrapped so tightly around the sea eagle's body that I almost didn't spot it at first.

"Thankfully I was able to remove the external line but because he had also ingested hooks I had to remove him from his nest to get help. He would undoubtedly have died a very slow and horrible death otherwise.

"I took the chick over to Fort William by boat and then drove him to a vets in Inverness before he was taken in by the Scottish SPCA. I am absolutely delighted he has been saved."

Centre manager Colin Seddon said, "The bird had been feeding on a fish which still had hooks in it.

"Our vet Romain Pizzi did a heroic job and managed to remove the hooks using an endoscope.

"Our aim will be to keep the chick in our care until he fledges at around 12 weeks old. We will then take him back to its nest area for release."

Mr Seddon has urged fishing enthusiasts to clear up after themselves following this incident.

He said: "Although the majority of fishing enthusiast are responsible and clear away their lines and tackle after use, sadly, there is a minority who do not and this causes suffering to many animals every year.

"We would urge all anglers to consider the welfare of wildlife and clear away any lines and tackle after use as this could save an animal's life."