A father and daughter spent 20 minutes in the freezing water in the Hartbeespoort Dam on Thursday to free a distraught Kormorant that was entangled in illegal fishing nets.
Grant and Cassandra (16) Taylor from Venice Village in Ifafi, had to use scissors and a steak knife to free the exhausted bird whose wings and legs were immobilised by the nets.
“My son Jared was walking along the shore with his small son around 15:00 when he noticed the bird flapping in the water. It was stuck in a net. My daughter Cassandra, who is a big animal lover, did not hesitate. She stripped off her top and rushed into the water,” her mother Daleen Taylor told Kormorant.
“Grant arrived at home just then, stripped off and rushed in after her.”
At first they tried to get the net to the shore but it was stretched over a large area. Untangling the net from the bird was also impossible and Jared fetched a pair of scissors and a steak knife with which Grant and Cassandra cut the bird loose. The bird skimmed off over the water, seemingly uninjured.
“Grant was bitten quite hard by the frantic bird and both were freezing when they got out of the water,” Daleen said.
Illegal fishermen are often seen in this area throwing out nets and fetching their spoils the next day. “I understand they do it for food, but why use nets. Why don’t they just fish? Birds and other animals get caught. Something has to be done to stop them from fishing with these nets.”