Charity warns litter is a danger to wildlife

Cygnet on St Maurice's Pond had a lucky escape after being trapped by a plastic bag. Pic: SSPCA
Cygnet on St Maurice's Pond had a lucky escape after being trapped by a plastic bag. Pic: SSPCA

The Scottish SPCA was recently called out to Cumbernauld to save a baby swan that was trapped by a plastic bag.

The cygnet had been spotted by a member of the public struggling with a plastic bag tied round its neck in St Maurice’s Pond behind St Maurice’s High School.

Scotland’s animal welfare charity receives a number of calls every year about wild animals in distress due to litter.

Animal rescue officer Stephanie Bain, who attended the incident, said: “We were alerted to the cygnet by a vigilant member of the public.

“It was particularly hard to approach the cygnet as its parents are very territorial and not willing to let me close.

“I managed to get the bag removed from its neck and released back to its worried parents who were keeping a very close eye on me!”

The charity has warned that dropping litter could have serious, and perhaps fatal, consequences for wildlife.

National Wildlife Rescue Centre manager Colin Seddon said: “The cygnet is very lucky in this circumstance to not have any injuries.

“Stephanie would have had a difficult job getting hold of the cygnet and this could have had a very sad ending if a member of the public hadn’t called us.

“Dropping litter is not only unsightly, but can cause real harm and damage to wild animals, in some cases resulting in death.”

Anyone who discovers an injured or distressed wild animal should call the Scottish SPCA animal helpline on 03000 999 999.

The fine for dropping litter in North Lanarkshire is currently set at £80, while it is £200 for flytipping.