Oriental Pied Hornbill chick hooked by a discarded fishing line

on 5th May 2014

Goh Juan Hui took these photographs at Turnhouse Road Park on 4th March 2013 (above). This area around Changi is where the Oriental Pied Hornbills (Anthracoceros albirostris) nest regularly LINK. An adult must have brought a fish or some other bait still attached to the hook at the end of the discarded fishing line and fed it to the chick in the nest. The hook apparently got caught in the lower mandible of the chick. It was not known what happened to the chick.

The indiscriminate disposal of used fishing lines (with or without the hooks attached) by irresponsibly fishing enthusiasts have caused a number of birds to be strangled.

In June 2009 an adult Oriental Pied Hornbill was found strangled by a discarded fishing line in a mangrove area LINK.

Other than this, we had other species of birds becoming victims of this irresponsible practice: Buffy Fish-owl LINK, Little Heron LINK, a heron LINK, Javan Myna LINK and Barn Owl-Little Heron LINK.

There was even an occasion when a White-bellied Sea-eagle swallowed a short line possibly with the hook still attached LINK.

There were appeals to fishing enthusiasts not to leave their unwanted lines indiscriminately but apparently such practice is still going on.

Goh Juan Hui
April 2014

If you like this post please tap on the Like button at the left bottom of page. Any views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors/contributors, and are not endorsed by the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM, NUS) or its affiliated institutions. Readers are encouraged to use their discretion before making any decisions or judgements based on the information presented.

YC Wee

Dr Wee played a significant role as a green advocate in Singapore through his extensive involvement in various organizations and committees: as Secretary and Chairman for the Malayan Nature Society (Singapore Branch), and with the Nature Society (Singapore) as founding President (1978-1995). He has also served in the Nature Reserve Board (1987-1989), Nature Reserves Committee (1990-1996), National Council on the Environment/Singapore Environment Council (1992-1996), Work-Group on Nature Conservation (1992) and Inter-Varsity Council on the Environment (1995-1997). He is Patron of the Singapore Gardening Society and was appointed Honorary Museum Associate of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) in 2012. In 2005, Dr Wee started the Bird Ecology Study Group. With more than 6,000 entries, the website has become a valuable resource consulted by students, birdwatchers and researchers locally and internationally. The views and opinions expressed in this article are his own, and do not represent those of LKCNHM, the National University of Singapore or its affiliated institutions.

Other posts by YC Wee

6 Responses

  1. 3rd world mentality at work again. Unless a fine is imposed, most people here just do/will not care. Do you think it’s possible for authorities to send out rangers checking the fishing practices of people here? Also, I must add that I have seen many non-locals fishing from canals and afterwards leaving their nets/hooks behind. They may not be aware that this is bad, or maybe, this not being their home country, they can’t be bothered.

  2. Please think before you commet. Not all lines and hooks are disposed in an inappropriate way. Sometime the lines will tangle and snap by the structure. We are unable to retrieve back. All these are not what we want to happen. I saw cases where even though the hook n line are disposed into bins but are being dug out by birds while searching for food. I believe no one wan this to happen. This is just my thought.


    1. Disposing lines with hooks in bins may not be an appropriate way. As you mentioned, birds and other animals may dig it out and get entangled. Why not bring it home and dispose it properly, like placing it in a small metal/plastic container first?

    2. Quite obviously, I’m talking about cases where lines and hooks and other fishing paraphernalia are disposed of DELIBERATELY in a careless manner, and not talking about accidents where they snap off and such.

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