Our selfish littering is injuring hundreds of animals in South Yorkshire
Written by Rother Radio News on 28/09/2020
Animals have been injured by or caught in litter nearly 400 times in South Yorkshire over the past five years.
The RSPCA received 395 calls relating to litter between 2015 and 2019.
The animal welfare charity is urging people to ensure they are taking their litter home with them or disposing of it properly and responsibly – including sniping the straps of used disposable face masks.
The RSPCA’s emergency hotline has received 95 calls about animals in the area affected by general litter – like tin cans, plastic bottles and elastic bands.
There have also been 300 reports relating to animals injured or caught in angling litter.
Across England and Wales, the RSPCA has received 21,649 reports of animals injured by or caught in litter over the past five years.
Dumped face masks have become a new hazard to wildlife since the pandemic started. A gull in Chelmsford in Essex was recently found with a face mask wrapped tightly around his legs.
Despite the face mask causing swelling to his legs, the bird has now fully recovered but the RSPCA hopes their “snip the straps” message will stop similar incidents taking place.
Other rescues during lockdown include an owl tangled in fishing line in a tree in Lancashire and a juvenile grey seal, Galactica, rescued in Norfolk after being spotted on the beach with blue plastic netting tangled tightly around her neck.
Two swans were found struggling to stay above water after getting tangled together in fishing line in Hampshire, and a fox cub got his head stuck in a discarded tin can whilst looking for his next meal in London.
All these animals were helped and either are recovering or have been released.
The statistics have been revealed after the Don’t Trash Our Future campaign against littering was launched.
Local community and information platform InYourArea.co.uk and our nationwide network of sister newspapers and websites have teamed up with Clean Up Britain to push for changes.
Head of the RSPCA’s wildlife team Adam Grogan said: “Our staff are dealing with thousands of incidents every year where animals and birds have been impacted by litter – and they’re the ones that we know of. I’m sure for every animal we’re able to help there are many that go unseen, unreported and may even lose their lives.
“Litter is one of the biggest hazards our wildlife faces today – and it’s something that’s very easy to resolve. That’s why we’re calling on the public to take extra care to clear up after they’ve been out for a walk or enjoyed a picnic in the woods.”
If you’re concerned about the welfare of an animal, contact the RSPCA’s emergency hotline on 0300 1234 999.