Stag starves to death after getting tangled in waste plastic for a week

The poor animal couldn’t eat because its mouth was wrapped shut by the plastic (Picture: Wild Side of Jura/SWNS)

These heartbreaking pictures show the moment a devastated gamekeeper found a stag being strangled by discarded plastic waste on a Scottish island.

The poor animal had to be put down after he was discovered distressed on a hillside on the west coast of Jura, Inner Hebrides, on Wednesday.

It is thought the stag had been grazing on seaweed on the shore when his antlers got caught in the mass of plastic strapping.

Gamekeeper, Scott Muir, 32, believes the stag walked around a mile onto the hillside, where he had been starving for the last week as the plastic was wrapped around his mouth.

Scott, who has lived on the island his whole life, said the stag sadly had to be put to sleep and is worried that plastic pollution on the coast has worsened in the last five years.

He said: ‘I was walking over the estate when I saw the plastic waste and realised there was a stag caught. I thought it was dead at first but as I approached it I could see his head start to move.

It is thought the stag was caught in the plastic mass for around a week (Picture: Wild Side of Jura/SWNS)
The poor animal had to be put down (Picture: Wild Side of Jura/SWNS)

‘These can be 18st animals and I know how powerful they can be, but he looked tired and stressed and he couldn’t see because the plastic was right around his antlers…

‘It looks like he has then walked about a mile up onto the hillside, no mean feat considering it was tangled around his back leg as well as round his antlers.

‘I think he has been there for about a week. In the end the animal had to sadly be dispatched.’

Scott is also a volunteer with Wild Side of Jura, a group aiming to protect the west coast of the island, which has a total population of just 230.

He added: ‘We are a group of five or six volunteers who came together to protect the west coast of Jura and raise awareness of a fish farm which is trying to be built here.

Locals say plastic pollution is getting increasingly worse on The Isle of Jura (Picture: SWNS)

‘The plastic pollution is getting worse. We have seen an increase in plastic waste on the west coast in the last five, six years.

‘The plastic on the stag is not fishing net but plastic banding which is used in conjunction with fishing.

‘We can’t categorically say where it came from but I’d be willing to bet some sort of commercial fishing, fish farm, which is what we are trying to stop on the west coast of Jura.’

Devastated locals took to social media to voice their outrage over the heartbreaking images.

One said: ‘That’s shocking, poor animal, the thought of him struggling with that for hours makes me so angry.

‘So much plastic out there, it makes it much more of a reality when you see the damage it does so close to home.’

Someone else added: ‘Whoever threw that, and more, overboard obviously do not care about the consequences of their actions.

‘Out of sight, out of mind. What a terrible plight for an innocent creature..’


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