Two fallow deer are seen seeking out and munching leftover food waste from plastic bags that have been stacked by bins.
Dumped litter presents a huge risk to wildlife which is attracted to picnic scraps and sadly can accidently eat plastic bags along with the food. The plastic can block their digestive system causing a lingering death from starvation.
The video follows The Royal Parks’ warning to ask the public to stop feeding deer in Bushy and Richmond Parks. Deer are wild animals but as a consequence of being fed they now associate plastic bags with tasty treats. Deer should be eating the natural food that both parks provide in abundance, such as grass, leaves and tree shoots, but unfortunately, due to the public feeding them, it’s becoming commonplace for these animals to seek out food from picnics, bins and plastic bags.
The amount of litter left across the Royal Parks following lockdown has increased by around a third. In the weekend just gone, staff cleared more than five tonnes of rubbish from Bushy Park.
In June this year 20 tonnes of litter were left in Bushy Park – 13 tonnes more than last year, and this took staff 685 hours to clear away.
This is despite the number of bins staff have left in Bushy Park following lockdown being increased by fifty percent, and grounds staff are now staying until 9pm to clear rubbish.
To help combat the litter, The Royal Parks charity is asking people to #BeKindToYourParks to inspire care of the natural environment on our doorsteps. The campaign welcomes people to the park to enjoy their visit but asks them to be kind to others and asks visitors to respect the environment by binning litter or taking it home if the bins are already full.
Bill Swan, Assistant Park Manager, Bushy Park, The Royal Parks, said: “This is an incredibly sad scene to capture. A witness told us that at one point one of the deer managed to hook a carrier bag full of cans and rubbish in its antler which it found distressing.
“We’re finding more litter being left than ever before and we urge people to bin it or if the bins are already full to please take it home.
“It’s all too common that we spot deer, foxes, squirrels and birds eating plastic and other rubbish left behind by visitors, causing their stomachs to block up and bloat and preventing them passing waste.
“We want people to enjoy their visit to the beautiful spaces in our parks, but we ask visitors to stop, think and protect the wildlife they are there to enjoy.”
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Main image used with kind permission © Sue Lindenberg (2020)