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Animal charity warns of litter danger after heron dies from beak trapped shut by netting

'Harry the heron' died after getting discarded netting caught around his beak. Photo: Richard Scantlebury

A Somerset animal charity is urging people to clear up after themselves in parks after a heron has died because it's beak was trapped shut by netting.

Secret World Wildlife Rescue attempted to save the bird, but it was too late, 'Harry the heron' passed away a day after being taken in by the charity.

Credit: Richard Scantlebury

The heron was first spotted on 25 April in Eastville Park, Bristol. The local community became concerned for the bird's welfare and a few days later, two local residents caught him.

I knew we had to act quickly and I asked Secret World to come pick him up and they sent someone straight away.

The netting was wrapped so tightly around its beak, there was no way the bird could have eaten in all that time.

– Stew Rowden, local resident
Credit: Richard Scantlebury

This is a tragic story which could so easily have been prevented if people were more careful when throwing away their litter, particularly in areas where wildlife run the risk of getting caught up in it.

Shortly after the Eastville Park heron we welcomed another heron from Highbridge that had had his legs tangled in some rubbish. Luckily this one did make a full recovery and has just been released.

– Laura Benfield, Head of Animal Care Services at Secret World

Secret World has issued a list of simple tips of what people can do with household waste to prevent wildlife injuries:

  • Cut up plastic ring pulls that hold cans together
  • Pick up bits of string and twine
  • Pinch cans and containers closed
  • Tie a knot in the top of plastic bags
  • Clean and recycle glass jars and bottles
  • Take any unwanted fishing line home and cut it up into small pieces