A hobbled goose is now on the mend after frantic attempts by concerned residents to catch it.
The wild Egyptian goose was spotted limping with a badly swollen leg in Cannon Hill Common at the end of December, after a discarded fishing line became tightly wound around it.
David Coleman, from Raynes Park, contacted the Riverside Animal Centre after he thought the goose had become snared by vandals, but his attempt to catch it led to him stumbling into the lake.
He said: “They seem to enjoy living dangerously for they wander for a distance onto the common, keeping a wide view of the field of fire, unfazed by the odd dog chase, beating an early retreat.
“During this time I have never seen an injured goose and I get close to them.”
Councillor Mary-Jane Jeanes, who represents West Barnes ward on Merton Council, had also tried in vain to catch the lame goose with a bath towel after coaxing it with grain.
Ted Burden, who founded Riverside nearly twenty years ago, explained how he, Adam Briddock and Jan Taylor were finally able to catch the bird by distracting it with food and isolating it from other geese on Friday, January 11.
He said: “Jan approached the goose and gained trust whilst feeding it. Adam fed the other birds and drew them away, including the other male Egyptian goose who was prone to attack the target bird.
“Using Jan as cover, I moved behind her and deployed our net launcher, which fires an 8ft diameter net from a cone shaped head under pressure supplied by a small gas canister.
“The net shot was perfect and the goose was contained quickly and transported back to the Riverside Animal Centre in Wallington.
The goose was given antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medicines, before having all traces of the tightly wound fishing line removed while under anaesthetic.
The charity has rescued waterfowl from Cannon Hill Common regularly in the last 15 years because of carelessly discarded fishing lines, which in some cases has led to birds becoming suspended high up in the trees next to the lake.
The Egyptian goose is pale brown and has distinctive dark brown eye-patches and white wings.
It was introduced as an ornamental wild species but now lives in the wild and is mainly found in eastern England.