The Forest Preserve District of Will County is sharing details regarding an unfortunate annual tradition as winter transitions to spring. While venturing off trail on Sunday at Rock Run Rookery Preserve, something high up in a tree caught the attention of forest preserve employees. Upon closer inspection, it was a dead great blue heron, hanging by its neck. Like any grim discoveries in the preserves before, it appears fishing line was the culprit.

In March 2018, a pelican was found tangled in fishing line at McKinley Woods-Kerry Sheridan Grove. It was rescued but later had to be euthanized because its injuries were too severe. Just a month later, an egret was found dead, tangled in fishing line, hanging from a tree at Lake Renwick. In May 2019, a robin became entangled in fishing line at Isle a la Cache Preserve and died. Once again, please properly dispose of your fishing line. Failing to do so will continue to be a death sentence for wildlife.

According to the Chicago Audubon, thousands of animals are killed each year after becoming entangled in man-made materials. The Forest Preserve has receptacles to dispose of fishing line at all of its main fishing sites, including at Rock Run Rookery Preserve. Choosing to use them is truly a matter of life and death for the animals that call our forest preserves home. The health and safety of wildlife in the preserves is an important issue and with spring quickly approaching when more people will be flocking to the local waterways, they urge everyone to act in a responsible manner and think about how your actions impact everyone, including wildlife.