Letter: Litter can be deadly to wildlife

Graphic by Lori Deaton

Many of us may not realize that our litter can be deadly, but if it’s not disposed of properly, it often puts wildlife at risk.

A raccoon whose head was stuck in a tin can was saved by firefighters in Florida, and two quick-acting men in Canada rescued a skunk whose head was stuck in a soda can. Both animals could have been hit by a car, attacked by predators or died from dehydration, starvation or suffocation.

The bear who was recently seen in Henderson County with his or her head stuck in a plastic container is facing the same risks.

We can protect wildlife by rinsing jars and replacing the lids, folding back the tab on beverage cans to block the hole, crushing cans before recycling them and cutting apart every section of six-pack rings. Fishing line can be deadly for birds who get tangled in it and swallow the hooks — pick up discarded line and never fish. Animals can choke on plastic bags or die from intestinal blockages. Take reusable bags when shopping.

It can be the difference between life and death.

— Craig Shapiro
PETA Foundation
Norfolk, Va.

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3 thoughts on “Letter: Litter can be deadly to wildlife

  1. Mike

    About 40 years ago when I lived n an apartment, I discovered that a feral cat who appeared to be about 6 months old was living in a storm drain behind my Apt. This was back in the day when 6-packs of beer and soda came packaged in plastic rings. The kitty had one of those rings stuck around his waist just in front of his hips and he had grown too large to escape it. The kitty would not let me get close to him. So I started feeding him by throwing chunks of cheese out on my back patio. Gradually he came closer and closer to the door while I stood there and watched him eat. Eventually he would come close to my open sliding glass door. In my best “Marlin Perkins” moment I unwound a coat hanger and while the cat was eating, I snagged one of the rings on the 6=pack holder with the hook, pulled the cat inside and shut the glass door The cat panicked (as expected), extricated himself from the coat hanger and ran to the other end of the Apt and into the kitchen where I had inadvertently left a cabinet door open. He situated himself in the far back corner of the cabinet where I eventually found him. To my great relief and astonishment he put up no fight at all when I crawled in there with a pair of scissors and cut the ring around his waist. He didn’t come out either.. So I opened the kitchen window and laid a cheese path up to it, left the room and within a couple of hours he was gone. He eventually got to where he would come inside voluntarily to be fed and let me pet him.

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