The RSPCA is urging people to “snip the straps” on disposable face masks after an ibis was found entangled in Brisbane.
With masks mandatory in Greater Brisbane until 12:01am Friday, more people have been using and disposing of personal protective equipment (PPE) face masks.
The RSPCA said throwing the masks away is not enough and they are asking people to cut the elastic straps that hold the masks in place.
Senior rescue unit officer Jo Jordaan said she responded to a report over the weekend, but she was unable to locate the bird.
“I was called out to an ibis at the art gallery at South Brisbane and it had ended up with the mask around its feet,” she said.
“It must have just walked through the mask and unfortunately it’s tangled around itself and hasn’t been able to free itself.”
The RSPCA said the issue is widespread in the United Kingdom, and they are worried more animals will become entangled in Australia.
“Sadly one is too many, but we’ve been getting increasing calls as of late,” Ms Jordaan said.
“Just like other parts of the world it is very disturbing that our wildlife is starting to be impacted by these surgical masks.”
RSPCA issues warning after animals found entangled in disposable face mask straps
Fishing line threat
Rowley Goonan operates Wild Bird Rescues Gold Coast and said he responds to around 150 entanglements annually.
The rescuer said the birds most commonly entangled include ibis, magpies, pigeons, and seagulls.
“The greatest entangling material on the Gold Coast is discarded fishing line,” he said.
“When fishers are doing a re-rig and cut off a length of line, if they carelessly drop that on the ground instead of disposing of it in a bin, then any species of bird walking through that area is likely to become entangled.”
Mr Goonan said human hair is a very common material found entangled in smaller birds.
“If someone brushes long hair and then drops the brushings on the ground, or out of a car window, any of the foraging small birds can get that hair caught around their toes or feet,” said the rescuer.
“It will tighten and it will literally cut them off.”
The RSPCA said if someone finds a bird entangled they should try and catch it and take it to their nearest vet or wildlife hospital for treatment.
“Anyone can all 1300 ANIMAL and we can put you in contact with the nearest rescuer in your local area,” Ms Jordaan said.
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