Dumped face masks are new hazard to wildlife says RSPCA

Gull caught up in a discarded face mask rescued from Chelmsford in Essex Credit: Gull caught up in a discarded face mask rescued from Chelmsford in Essex

Discarded face masks have become a new hazard to wildlife according to the RSPCA.

The animal charity has received reports of animals tangled in the ear straps of single-use masks since it became law for the public to wear them in shops.

A gull was found with a face mask wrapped tightly round his legs in Chelmsford, Essex.

Despite the face mask causing swelling to his legs, the bird has now fully recovered.

The message comes as the RSPCA backs Keep Britain Tidy’s Great British September Clean, which kicked off this week and runs until 27 September.

Since lockdown started on 23 March, the RSPCA has dealt with 938 incidents of animals caught in litter, including tin cans, elastic bands and plastic bottles.

Incidents by county

  • Bedfordshire 10

  • Cambridgeshire 21

  • Essex 28

  • Hertfordshire 10

  • Norfolk 25

  • Northamptonshire 8

  • Suffolk 12