The RSPCA is reminding people about the dangers balloons pose to wildlife, after a gull died from injuries sustained from getting tangled up with one.
The animal welfare charity was called to rescue the bird from a telephone wire in Thornbrook Road, in Chapel-en-le-Frith, after the struggling and distressed gull was seen by a member of the public.
An officer managed to free the gull and took him to the charity’s Stapeley Grange Wildlife Centre, in Cheshire. However, the bird had sustained serious injuries after dangling for what is thought to have been a few hours, and so sadly, the decision was made to put him to sleep to end his suffering.
Adam Grogan, head of wildlife at the RSPCA, said: “It’s very sad to see that this poor bird suffered like this because of a single balloon, and, although balloons released into the sky make an impressive sight, this case really highlights why they are a problem.
“Deflated or fragments of balloons can be eaten by accident or mistaken for food. Ingesting balloons can cause a slow death to wild birds and mammals as well as farm animals, horses and marine life, by blocking the digestive or respiratory tracts, and the attached strings can strangle or cause animals to get tangled, as happened in this case.”
Lee Stewart, manager at Stapeley Grange, said: “Our vets tried everything they could for the gull but sadly his injuries were too severe.
“Frustratingly, as with all cases we see involving litter, this could have easily been avoided.”
The RSPCA, along with other animal welfare groups, is calling for an end to balloon and sky lantern releases, and as an alternative, offers creative ideas on how to celebrate or raise money for charity without releasing balloons outside, via its webpage about litter.
Last year, the RSPCA rescued 1,070 animals who had got tangled or caught in litter.