During this current pandemic, there is one thing that we can all agree on – masks are important and they save lives. That is why we should always wear them when in public or crowded places, such as public transport and inside shops. However, it’s also important that if they’re disposable, we properly discard them rather than just chucking them out on the side of the road. Not only are they a pollutant to the environment, but they can also pose a problem for wildlife.
The RSPCA of Chelmsford, Essex in the UK, had a bit of a challenge ahead of them when they had to untangle a seagull from a disposable mask. The animal’s feet had become entrapped in the mask, which had been improperly disposed of. That prompted the rescue to share a friendly reminder with the public to get rid of their garbage in a responsible manner.
As the RSPCA inspector, Adam Jones, shared according to Yahoo, the gull had been spotted struggling to walk by the staff of a car dealership. He further revealed that the staff had tried to get close to the gull, but each time that they attempted it, the bird would end up flying away. However, he came back on a Saturday. That gull wasn’t moving, and so the staff called the RSCPCA for help.
A young gull with a disposable face mask tangled round its legs. As it has been there a while the poor birds limbs and joints are swollen. Hopefully with veterinary care at @SEWH he will soon recover. @RSPCA_official @RSPCA_Frontline pic.twitter.com/uqGCP7tlUf
— RSPCA Essex South (@rspcaessexsth) July 19, 2020
Adam was on the case and noted that whenever he’d get close to the gull, the poor bird would hop away only to then trip and fall. It was then that the animal inspector realized that the cause of the bird’s suffering was a disposable face mask that had become wrapped tightly around both legs. The bird was transported to the South Essex Wildlife Hospital in Grays where staff members successfully were able to remove the mask.
As Adam revealed to Yahoo, “It’s clear the mask was there for some time and the elastic straps had tightened around his legs as his joints were swollen and sore.”
Fortunately, the bird seemed to be doing well after his ordeal. Adam stated that the gull had been released into the facility’s aviary with fellow gulls, and the staff were keeping a close eye on him. Adam noted that when the entire flock is ready, they will all be released together.
But this one particular gull is a major concern for Adam, as he voiced his worries that this will become a new problem that they will be seeing in other gulls and birds. That is why the RSCPA is being vocal with the public, emphasizing the importance that they do not just toss their disposable masks and gloves on the street, but rather take the time to properly dispose of them. That is the only way to prevent other animals from getting hurt and harmed by disposable face masks.
Anastasia is an American writer and journalist living in Dublin, Ireland. Her Twitter is @AnastasiaArell5.