This year’s conservation campaign, Knot Your Net, is all about the negative impact that discarded netting has on UK wildlife. We are asking guests to join us in stopping UK wildlife getting into a tangle by tying a knot in any netting that you are throwing away.
Netting is often blown out of our rubbish bins by the wind or carried away by animals, and it ends up on our streets, in our gardens or littered in the countryside. This discarded netting then becomes a serious hazard for numerous animals including birds, snakes, deer, badgers and foxes who become tangled, causing serious injuries, open wounds, or even suffocation or starvation.
Loose netting which is not maintained can also trap animals. Netting that we use regularly, such as garden netting, tennis court netting and bird deterrent netting can trap wildlife if it becomes loose and unsecure, and cause similar injuries to discarded netting.
Netting and hedgehogs
Hedgehog populations in the UK have dropped by 95% in the last 50 years. This decline is due to numerous interlinking factors including habitat loss, food reduction, traffic incidents, and smaller hazards such as litter and slug pellet poisoning. Discarded or loose netting is especially an issue for hedgehogs as they can easily become tangled in it due to their spikes. Once caught in netting, hedgehogs find it difficult to untangle themselves and they can suffer ligature wounds, open wounds or even death by starvation.
And it’s not just netting
Discarded netting is not the only litter which harms wildlife in the UK but in fact all forms of litter are a threat. Animals can become trapped in used food cans, tangled up in discarded elastic bands or cut themselves on broken glass.
What can you do?
Knot you net! The easiest way to help stop UK wildlife getting into a tangle is to tie a knot in any netting that you are throwing away. If you would like to do more to help wildlife, try doing some of the following actions on a daily basis:
• Secure and maintain netting which is in use.
• Wash and squash any used food cans or food containers before recycling them.
• Reuse elastic bands or cut them in half before throwing them away.
• Cut the loops of plastic can holders before disposing of them.
• Clean glass bottles or jars before recycling them.
• Cut up rope, fishing line or similar items into small pieces before putting them in the bin.
• Do not release Chinese lanterns or balloons.
During your next visit to the Zoo don’t forget to meet our large willow hedgehog, take part in a hog-tastic activity at the Activity Centre and visit the Hedgehog Hub. Also, make sure you check out the Knot Your Net notice board to see which activities are happening that day.
If you have any questions about the Knot Your Net campaign or would like to share a photo of you being a net knotter, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo credit RSPCA.
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