Hampshire eighth worst place for litter related animal incidents, according to RSPCA

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Hampshire has been ranked the eighth worst place for litter-related animal incidents, according to the RSPCA.

RSPCA anti-litter campaigns manager Carrie Stones said: “Our rescuers deal with thousands of avoidable incidents every year where animals have been impacted by litter. “Old drinks cans and bottles, plastic items and even disposable vapes are just some of the items that pose a danger to our wildlife - including hedgehogs, deer and foxes. Animals can ingest the litter or become entangled, leading to injuries, mutilations and even death.

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“Sadly, for every animal we’re able to help there are probably many others that go unseen, unreported and may even lose their lives. “But the public can help us protect animals, and avoid these incidents happening in the first place. “Spring is an ideal time to go on a litter-pick because it falls before the breeding season when young animals such as fox cubs are at risk of getting into trouble, while litter in hedges will be more visible to pickers before the vegetation really starts growing. That’s why we’re calling on the public to get involved in the Great British Spring Clean to help remove litter that may endanger animals."

Distressing incidents dealt with by the RSPCA include a hedgehog entangled in old barbed wire, a fox cub with litter caught round his neck, a goose with an old drinks can stuck to her lower beak and a Great Black Backed Gull whose leg became almost completely detached due to old fishing line cutting in. 

Greater London, Devon, Kent, Greater Manchester, West Midlands, Essex and East Sussex have also had a large number of litter-related incidents.

As well as everyday rubbish, the RSPCA also sees many animals arriving into its care with terrible injuries caused by angling litter such as discarded fishing line, hooks and plastic netting. Around 40 per cent of all litter-related calls to the RSPCA last year were about animals that had specifically become caught in fishing litter.

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Carrie added: “Old fishing line can cut deep into the flesh of water birds like swans, geese and ducks, affecting circulation and causing wounds to become seriously infected. We even see birds that have swallowed barbed fishing hooks. These hazards can very quickly become a matter of life or death for them 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.

"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.

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