Litter bugs blamed after 'weak' duck spotted with bottle fastener on its head at Welwyn Hatfield museum

PUBLISHED: 11:52 06 February 2015 | UPDATED: 11:52 06 February 2015

The Mallard duck with bottle fastener on its mouth

The Mallard duck with bottle fastener on its mouth

Archant

Careless litter bugs have been blamed for nearly killing a duck which was rescued at a Welwyn Hatfield museum.

The fortunate mallard was spotted by a staff member at a the Mill Green Museum on Monday with a bottle fastener around the top of his beak and head.

The RSPCA says the animal was lucky to survive the ordeal, and warned people not to be so careless when discarding rubbish.

The duck was unable to eat.

RSPCA animal collection officer (ACO) Kate Wright, who removed the plastic fastener, said: “It was lucky that I managed to catch the duck as often they fly away so it can be quite difficult to remove litter from them.

“He was healthy and his mouth was undamaged and we’re really grateful to the staff member who spotted him so that he wasn’t struggling for too long with the fastener on his beak.

“This shows just how important it is to dispose of litter properly.

“These sort of fasteners can often cause problems for wildlife and we urge people to cut them up before putting them into a bin.”

Museum manager Linda Dobbs said: “We are so pleased that it was a good outcome.

“Staff could see that the duck was in trouble and quite weak but it was obviously looking for food and we could see that it had something around its head.

“We couldn’t catch it and did not know the extent of its injury, so we called in the experts.

“We love to see the ducks around the Mill grounds but these past few years the numbers have seriously declined to just the odd one or two which is very worrying.

“Maybe more ducks and wildlife are suffering from this type of injury without being seen and sadly do not survive?

“This fortunate mallard now knows where to find food and cheekily tapped on the mill door yesterday! The miller obliged by giving a handful of grain to our lucky friend. We hope he stays around.”

For more information about litter and animals, go to www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/litter

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