Page last updated at 15:29 GMT, Thursday, 4 December 2008

RSPCA issues bird litter warning

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Wild birds and animals have been injured because of litter

The RSPCA says it has received nearly 1,000 calls about water birds affected by litter in the West Midlands in less than a year.

Wild birds and animals are suffering and dying because of casually-dropped litter and discarded fishing lines and hooks, the animal charity has warned.

A total of 737 of the 970 calls made between January and October were about water birds injured by angling litter.

There were 185 calls about wild birds which were in danger due to litter.

The charity received 67 calls about injured wild mammals, including hedgehogs, foxes, deer and badgers.

Surgery needed

Stapeley Grange Wildlife Centre in Nantwich, Cheshire, said it had admitted about 300 swans over a three-year period "which had been adversely affected by fishing tackle".

Water (pic: RSPCA)
The RSPCA says it has had 970 calls about water birds affected by litter

The manager at Stapeley, Dr Andrew Kelly, said: "Many of these required surgical intervention to remove hooks from their mouths or throats.

"Had the birds not been rescued they would almost certainly have starved to death."

The RSPCA said the situation was so bad earlier this year that a team of animal collection officers took time out from their normal duties to spend three days cleaning up at Ladymoor Pool, Wolverhampton, and Shard End Pool, Birmingham.

The region covered by the figures includes the West Midlands, Warwickshire, Staffordshire, Shropshire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire.

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