Community news and investigative journalism for Wapping E1W and Tower Hamlets London

Slaughter of wildlife in Wapping

By on July 18, 2013 in Crime & Policing, Wildlife

Warning: This post contains distressing images of animal cruelty.

Sad news from Shadwell Basin. One of the cygnets has been found dead. To be precise it has been found with fishing line wrapped around its neck.

So it might be more accurate to say that one of the cygnets has been killed.

Cygnet hitching a ride in the sunshine, Wapping, London, E1W

Cygnet hitching a ride in the sunshine.

Those who live near Shadwell Basin will not need telling that the recent hot weather has brought a small army of people to the Basin.

Most are probably well behaved and just looking for somewhere nice to relax.  I visited early this evening and there were people just enjoying the evening sun and parents watching their children sailing.

But a significant number of people at Shadwell Basin are causing problems. Incidents Love Wapping is aware of include:

  • Police called numerous times to reports of Anti Social Behaviour
  • Fishermen shot at with BB pellet gun
  • Drunken behaviour of every type you could imagine and some you couldn’t
  • Drug taking
  • Drug dealing

And now a dead cygnet. Here’s the proof.

Dead Cygnet Shadwell Basin

Dead Cygnet Shadwell Basin

The red arrow indicates the fishing line that strangled the cygnet to death. Sickening, isn’t it?

Let me make it 100% clear that this lovely animal has not been killed by one of the many responsible fishermen who both enjoy the Basin and keep an eye on the wildlife.

These fishermen are actively working with Love Wapping to monitor and protect wildlife of all sorts. I know these guys personally and they brought this to my attention today.

The cygnet has been killed by one of the drunken idiots with fishing rods who don’t care about anything or anyone.

Or the cygnet has been killed by the same person who has been taking ducks with a rod and line.

Killing our ducks

Yes you read that correctly. Haven’t you noticed how few ducks there are around Wapping at the moment? Normally there are between 40 – 50 ducks at least between Shadwell and Hermitage. This evening I counted 12.

And it seems that the reason there are so few ducks is because someone is hooking them out of the water with a rod and line. At the end of the line is a noose.

Sorry if that thought upsets you. Love Wapping has been aware of various rumours for some while but wanted more evidence before bringing this despicable behaviour to the attention of our community.

To hear of the death of a cygnet by either a drunk or a callous poacher sickens me.

We can all help protect our wildlife and environment

We can all do something. Actively watch out for our wildlife and if you see anything suspicious ring 999 or 101 immediately. I know our local police led by Jak Bentley, the team at Limehouse and our very own Marine Unit have been called to the Basin numerous times and they are doing their best. Many thanks to all of the MPS officers.

But the police need our help.

Bottom line is that the current hot weather is highlighting the problem of Shadwell Basin. What should be a great place for people to enjoy is in danger of becoming a no-go zone for residents and ordinary people. If it is not already.

Love Wapping often jokes on Twitter about ‘Wapping Wildlife Rangers’ but there is a small team of us who work together to keep an eye out for the wildlife and report incidents such as the death of the cygnet.

But we can’t do it all ourselves. We need everyone to help, especially anyone who lives at the Basin and has a good view of what’s going on.

Our wildlife that we know and love is slowly being slaughtered. They can’t protect themselves from thugs. They need our help. So keep your eyes and ears open and notify the police using 999 or 101.

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There Are 8 Brilliant Comments

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  1. Daryl Stafford says:

    I’m sick of seeing these inconsiderate idiots fishing in Shadwell. They kill everything and dump their rubbish all over the place. The council should stop people fishing and start monitoring the area. This is heartbreaking but not the first time and won’t be the last.

    • Mark Baynes says:

      Thanks for the comment Daryl. I think we need to ensure that we distinguish between the inconsiderate idiots and the genuine fishermen – who make up around half our Love Wapping Wildlife Rangers patrol! The police have already been checking for those with the appropriate rod licenses and moving on those without. There are a variety of things we can do about this as a community and I have a some plans to stop this happening again. The most useful thing Wapping and Shadwell residents do is just walk around our area more and keep an eye out for the wildlife and any odd goings on. It sounds simple but it works. If anyone is seen endangering wildlife – be it deliberately or accidentally – then call the police on 999 or 101 depending on whats going on. The Marine Unit often carry out land patrols and have told me they are more than happy to turn out and help.

      • Daryl Stafford says:

        Perhaps we should organise a community clean up event. I hate to see the rubbish that’s dumped around and also in the Shadwell Basin. I’m always picking up bags and bottles every time I go past. It’s too late for this poor little cygnet but perhaps we could make the environment a lot safer for the one that is still alive.

        • Mark Baynes says:

          Very good idea that several people have mentioned to me, have been trying to organise one but most of my time has been taken up by keeping an eye on Network Wapping 🙁 One local organisation has been in touch with me via Twitter.

          • Daryl Stafford says:

            Perhaps we should nominate a date, make up some posters (perhaps featuring that poor cygnet?) and post them around the area inviting people to turn up and join in. We could ask the councilors to join in too.

          • Mark Baynes says:

            From experience I think the more notice the better so I think in three weeks or so would be best. Unfortunately there is a lot of faffing around relating to Health & Safety involved although this is sensible when dealing with glass etc. Dont think photos of the dead cygnet would be a good idea, a lot of people would find it upsetting but yes would need to be publicised. Can you email me direct please Daryl? hello@lovewapping.org works 🙂

          • Daryl Stafford says:

            Hi Mark, I emailed. Did it come through?

  2. Aaron says:

    This poor cygnet’s death is an absolute tragedy and heartbreaking. The increase poaching activities at Shadwell Basin eg killing and taking ducks and illegal landing of fish is starting to get out of control. Love Wapping is right, we all need to work together to stop these activities. After all we all live here and share a certain level of responsibility to help take care of our community which includes its beautiful wildlife.

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