April is wildlife awareness month and the BC SPCA would like to do a little trash talking.
Whether they eat it, get entangled in it, or are poisoned by it, wild animals are injured or killed by garbage every single day.
With spring (and spring cleaning) upon us, now is the perfect time to reflect on the impact trash has on wildlife and what we can do to help.
Some people just don't see the harm in littering or not recycling, but the truth is that in addition to being bad for the environment, even a single piece of litter can be very dangerous to wild animals.
And not all littering is intentional.
Garbage can easily be spilled when the truck comes around on pickup day, or animals such as crows, raccoons, and skunks can get into a trash bag and spread garbage around as they forage for food.
Trash on the ground harms birds and land animals, but can also wash into storm drains and eventually end up in streams, rivers, lakes, and oceans, where it causes further injury to aquatic animals.
Items such as cigarette butts, plastic caps and lids, and plastic bags are choking hazards.
Should an animal mistake a plastic cap for food and manage to swallow it, the danger isn't over - these items can cause life-threatening blockages of the animal's digestive system.
Plastic items can also accumulate in the stomach, preventing the animal from eating real food.
Eventually they die with stomachs full of plastic.
Jars and bottles can also become death traps for unsuspecting animals who try to get at the food scraps inside.
Once trapped, animals struggle to remove the item but if unsuccessful, starve to death.
Animals can also be injured and suffer deep neck wounds as they frantically try to free themselves.
Out in the water items like six-pack rings and discarded fishing line can entangle birds, fish, turtles, and other wildlife, causing death by strangulation or drowning.
These items can also wrap tightly and painfully around animals, cutting into wings and legs and preventing them from feeding or moving properly.
Animals can develop fatal infections, lose limbs, or starve.
The good news is that we can all make a difference with a few simple actions:
. Recycle as many plastic products as you can.
. Buy things with less packaging.
. Cut all six-pack rings so animals can't be caught in them.
. Avoid products that come in plastics you cannot reuse or recycle.
. Bring your own cloth bags when you go to the grocery store.
. Ask your local grocery store to promote cloth bags.
. Pack your lunch in a reusable lunch bag with reusable containers.
. Use refillable water bottles instead of buying bottled water.