United Kingdom

Shocking photos show wildlife caught in rubbish as RSPCA appeals for Brits to pick up trash

These tragic photos show innocent animals struggling for breath after getting caught in litter - as the RSPCA reveals it has had over 21,000 litter reports in the past five years.

The heartbreaking photos show a seal with blue plastic netting wrapped tightly around its neck, and a fox cub with its head wedged inside a tin can.

It comes as the RSPCA released new figures on Wednesday, showing how many calls it has taken from each UK county over the past five years relating to general litter and angling litter.

The animal welfare charity says its emergency hotline has taken 6,466 calls about animals affected by general litter - such as tin cans, plastic bottles, and elastic bands - since 2015.

And there have also been 15,183 reports relating to animals injured by or caught in angling litter.

There have been a further 12,904 reports of animals and birds trapped in netting, which includes netting discarded as rubbish and also sports netting or netting put on bushes or trees to deter birds.

The RSPCA has revealed it has had over 21,000 litter reports in the past five years, with heartbreaking photos now released showing one of the cases - a fox cub with its head wedged inside a tin can

The counties in which animals are most affected by litter are Greater London, which saw a total of 1,618 calls made in five years about general and angling litter, and Greater Manchester, from where 906 calls were made.

And following closely behind were West Midlands, with a total of 895 calls made, and Norfolk, with 867 litter reports.

Now, the RSPCA are urging people to ensure they take litter home with them - especially those who are going out more since the lockdown restrictions were further eased this week.

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.

A hedgehog was shown caught fast in black netting, in desperate need of rescue by RSPCA volunteers

There have also been 15,183 reports relating to animals injured by or caught in angling litter, with seals often seen choking to death after becoming entangled in fishing netting

'Now that the Government has eased some of the lockdown restrictions, we're sure lots of families will be out and about in nature.

'But it's our job to protect nature and that includes properly and responsibly disposing of our litter so that animals can't be hurt.'

As well as everyday rubbish, the RSPCA also sees many animals arriving into their care with terrible injuries caused by angling litter, such as discarded fishing line and plastic netting.

Waterfowl and seals are often admitted to the RSPCA's four wildlife centres with nasty wounds caused by fishing hooks, line and netting.

Just last month, on May 24, a young grey seal named Galactica was rescued from Horsey beach in Norfolk, after she was spotted with blue plastic netting tangled around her neck.

The netting was cutting into her skin - and she became the 56th seal since 2008 to be admitted to RSPCA East Winch Wildlife Centre in Norfolk with these injuries.

And just days later, on May 27, in Milford-on-Sea, Hants., two swans were struggling to stay above water after getting tangled together in fishing line in Sturt Pond.

The weaker swan was almost completely submerged so could have easily drowned.

Thankfully, RSPCA officers were able to get them to shore and untangle them, before taking both birds to RSPCA Stubbington Ark Animal Shelter until they were strong enough to be released.

Adam said: 'Animals who get their heads or necks stuck in litter can suffer severe injuries as they struggle to break free and can even suffocate.

'Meanwhile, others will slowly grow weaker and weaker as they try to hunt or find food or water.

An innocent young fox stands helpless after being caught in a plastic fence divider, commonly found in gardens and parks

An open wound is shown on a large bird of prey, after freeing itself from litter and becoming badly injured as a result

'Others will get fishing line or netting cutting deep into their skin, affecting circulation and with wounds becoming seriously infected.

'These hazards can very quickly become a matter of life or death for these animals and action is urgently needed to tackle this problem head-on.

'It's up to every one of us to do our bit in the war against litter.'

He added: 'The majority of anglers do dispose of their litter properly and it is frustrating that those who don't possibly don't realise how dangerous it is to animals.

'Discarded line in particular is a terrible hazard for wildlife, particularly as it can be almost invisible.

'We strongly urge those who enjoy fishing to be extra cautious to make sure nothing is left behind.

'Most anglers are very responsible when disposing of their litter, but it only takes one careless person to endanger the life of an animal.

'We ask that all those who enjoy fishing to follow the Angling Trust Take 5 campaign and make use of the recycling scheme to dispose of their waste tackle.

'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.

'Their action could save an animal's life.'

Football news:

Liverpool pinned Arsenal: Robertson brought, but corrected, Jota scored the team's 400th goal in the Premier League under Klopp
Zhota about the 1st goal for Liverpool: an Incredible feeling. It's a pity the stadium wasn't full
Mikel Arteta: Liverpool is the standard that Arsenal must achieve. They are superior to us in many aspects
Leicester lead the Premier League after three rounds. Liverpool and Everton also scored 9 points
Jurgen Klopp: Roy Keane said Liverpool showed sloppy football? I want to hear it. Incredible game description
Manchester City refused to buy Coulibaly after the transfer of Dias
Conte wants to sign Inter Gervinho from Parma