Animal rescue organization warns of PPE risks to wildlife after gull found tangled in face mask

A gull was rescued after it was discovered with a disposable surgical face mask tangled around its legs in Chelmsford, England, and the organization that saved the bird is warning of the risks to wildlife of improperly discarded personal protection equipment.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) said that staff at a local car dealership spotted the bird struggling to walk for approximately a week. RSPCA inspector Adam Jones was called to the scene after the gull hadn’t moved from the same spot for hours.

When Jones went out to catch the gull, it would try to hop away, only to stumble and fall from the disposable face mask tied around its legs.

The bird was taken to South Essex Wildlife Hospital, where the mask was safely removed.

“The concern is that, now face masks are compulsory for many situations, that there will be more and more being irresponsibly discarded and wild animals and birds will become tangled in elastic straps,” said the RSPCA.

The charity has put together a list of tips on how to keep wildlife, like the gull, from being harmed by human litter. It includes actions such as cutting the loop handles of plastic carrier bags, cutting plastic can holders and recycling and reusing as much as possible.