A campaign to reduce the amount of litter in Scotland’s waters has been stepped up after images of a stag with rope tangled in its antlers were released.
Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) has highlighted the dangers of marine rubbish to wildlife on land by publishing the photos which were taken on the Rum national nature reserve.
The body revealed two deer had recently died on the island after they became tangled together with rope in their antlers.
Lesley Watt, reserve manager on Rum for SNH, said: “Marine litter is a huge international problem.
“But small actions can make a big difference and everyone has a part to play.”
She added: “Along with many organisations, SNH recently joined the campaign to bin plastic straws – and we’re cutting down on disposable plastics by providing our staff with re-useable travel cups.
“If you use your own bag for life when shopping, or take litter home after a day at the beach, you could help save an animal’s life.”
One of the images released shows a stag with rope and a buoy in its antlers, although a spokesman for the body said this was not one of those found to have died.
The SNH post also tells of how staff on Rum once discovered a dead deer caught up in a piece of fishing rope which already had an old deer skull attached.
#Marinelitter can have a devastating impact on wildlife at sea. Perhaps less well known is the tragic effect that it can have on land mammals. Our recent photo of a red stag on Rum #NNR is a sobering sight, read our latest info https://t.co/sW3dYKuIDJ pic.twitter.com/6DqglYk8Le— Scottish Natural Heritage (@nature_scot) May 23, 2018
Images released by the body were taken several months ago, according to an SNH spokesman, but have now been published to highlight the blight of marine litter on wildlife on Scottish soil.
Some deer forage on seaweed at Rum and this may be how they come into contact with marine litter.
While the island community works in partnership with SNH to remove as much rubbish as possible, regular clean-ups of remote and inaccessible areas can be challenging.
Gina Hanrahan, acting head of policy at WWF Scotland, said: “These images of discarded fishing gear and plastics having such an impact on wildlife on Rum are very distressing.
“Plastics are suffocating our oceans and as it’s washed ashore, is also having a devastating impact on animals on land.
“This shows why we all need to take greater care in how we use and dispose of plastics.”