People are being urged to ‘snip the straps’ off face masks after more than 900 animals were rescued after getting tangled in litter during lockdown

People are being urged to snip the straps off face masks after more than 900 animals were rescued after getting tangled in litter during lockdown.
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A gull in Chelmsford, Essex, was saved by vets at the RSPCA after it was found to have a face mask tightly round his legs.

Despite the face mask causing swelling to his legs, the bird has now fully recovered.

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The RSPCA has launched an appeal for people to cut off the straps from their face coverings before chucking them out.

A gull in Chelmsford, Essex, was saved by vets at the RSPCA after it was found to have a face mask tightly round his legsA gull in Chelmsford, Essex, was saved by vets at the RSPCA after it was found to have a face mask tightly round his legs
A gull in Chelmsford, Essex, was saved by vets at the RSPCA after it was found to have a face mask tightly round his legs

They revealed that they responded to over 900 incidents of animals getting caught in litter since the start of lockdown in March - many from animals tangled in face masks.

Chris Sherwood, the RSPCA’s chief executive, said: “For many years the public have been aware of the message to cut up plastic six-pack rings before throwing them away to stop animals getting tangled in them, and now we are keen to get out the message that the same should be done for face masks too - as very sadly, animals are susceptible to getting tangled up in them.

“Now that face masks are the norm, and may be for some time to come, this message is more important than ever as thousands of these masks are being thrown away every day. We’re concerned discarded face masks could become a significant hazard, particularly to wild animals and birds.

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“Our RSPCA officers have had to rescue animals from getting tangled in face masks and we expect that this may go up as time goes on, so the best thing to do is to simply cut the elastic ear straps in half before throwing it away.”

Since lockdown started on March 23, the RSPCA has dealt with 938 incidents of animals caught in litter, including tin cans, elastic bands and plastic bottles.

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