RSPCA: How litter left behind is harming wildlife in Cumbria

Credit: RSPCA

Twenty incidents of animals being injured by rubbish were reported in Cumbria last year 

New figures from RSPCA have found that there has been an increase in animals affected by litter during the coronavirus lockdown. 

20

calls about litter-affected animals made to RSPCA in Cumbria last year.

They say cases include items such as discarded medical face masks, food wrappers and plastic. There was almost 4,000 litter related call-outs last year across England and Wales including:

  • A duck tangled in a medical face mask

  • A baby hedgehog with plastic wrapped around her neck

  • A fox with his head caught in an old Cornish pasty wrapper

  • A gannet entangled in plastic

4,000

litter related RSPCA call-outs last year.

Credit: RSPCA

The charity is calling on people to people to help reduce the risk to wildlife by taking litter home or disposing of it safely in bins or recycling boxes.

Head of RSPCA’s wildlife department Adam Grogan has said:  “Litter is one of the biggest hazards our wildlife faces today, and the pandemic has just added to the problem with many disposable masks just being discarded on the ground.

"These are a new danger to animals, and we’ve been called out to rescue animals like ducks and gulls caught up in the masks’ elastic straps.” 

The animal welfare charity is calling on people to help reduce the risk to wildlife by taking litter home or disposing of it safely in bins or recycling boxes.

Adam added: “If members of the public see discarded litter, we would encourage them to pick it up safely and put it in the bin, remembering to wash their hands after it. Their action could save an animal's life.”