Wildlife’s suffering from plastic garbage

On the occasion of World Environment Day (June 5), a veterinarian has a warning for wildlife-lovers:  Keep plastic away from wild animals.

Mr. Pattharaphol Manee-on, a veterinarian attached to the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plants Conservation, reinforces his warning with images depicting the suffering that these poor animals have to go through because of plastic bags.

The vet said that wild animals and garbage should be completely separated but, unfortunately, it was humans who introduced garbage to the beasts through their feeding out of sympathy, affection or just for the sake of a selfie.

“This has caused the beasts to change their habit,” he said.

He explained that most of the food was contained in plastic bags and when a plastic bag was crumpled, it would emit a sound which would be recognized by the animals.  So when the animals heard the sound again, they knew it was feeding time and they would eat them all, including the plastic bag.

Most vulnerable to the danger of plastic garbage are monkeys, deer, elephants, birds and porcupine.  “They eat everything, including plastic, aluminium foil and steel,” said Mr Pattharaphol.

Explaining the eating behaviour of a deer, he said a deer would swallow food to fill up its stomach, then 1-2 hours afterward, it will bring the food back to its mouth for chewing.  This is called the ruminating process.

“But plastic sheet or bag is difficult to be brought back and it will keep accumulating in the stomach when more plastics were swallowed which will fill up its stomach and intestines, causing the deer to become sick, losing weight and hairs and unable to excrete.”

The treatment ranges from giving medication to an operation to remove the plastic from its stomach which is not easy, risky and has several limitations, said the vet.

Besides plastic, he said other garbages such as aluminium bottle can harm the animals.

Elephants also eat plastic garbage especially plastic bags which contain salty food as it tastes like salt lick, said the vet, adding when plastic is swallowed into the stomach, the elephant cannot excrete it out “that explains why we founds its faeces is tainted with blood.”

 

Source : http://news.thaipbs.or.th/content/272609