Lead, Litter has Fatal Effects on Local Wildlife

“Wild Instincts” Shares Easy Ways to Protect Wildlife

As the spring grass starts to emerge for the season, so also does the litter along roadsides. Staff and volunteers at Wild Instincts Wildlife Rehab Facility in Rhinelander, a non-profit volunteer organization that services the entire State of Wisconsin, are frequent witnesses to the detrimental effect of litter on wildlife.

With repeat offenders being six pack soda rings and fishing line, everyone is reminded to properly dispose of their trash and recycling to prevent harm to local wildlife.

“We have had several animals over the years with the six pack soda ring containers stuck on them,” said Mark Naniot, Director Of Rehabilitation at Wild Instincts Rehab. “We have had several ducks, gulls, and a fox, as well as several skunks.”

These plastic six pack rings are often found on roadsides, in ditches, and even on the banks of local streams. Here, unsuspecting animals get trapped in them, often with fatal results. Fortunately, there are easy ways to prevent such tragedies.

A lead-infected eagle rescued in northern Wisconsin.

“The best thing people can do with the plastic soda rings is to cut every opening with a scissors so no animal can get stuck in them,” said Naniot. “The same goes for fishing line, as we see many animals tangled in that. Many lose limbs and life.”

Naniot encourages fishing enthusiasts to cut used fishing line into small pieces before discarding. Those few seconds with a scissors can save a life.

Other common dangers to wildlife include plastic containers for yogurt, peanut butter, etc, with many animals getting them stuck on their head. Naniot recommends washing containers thoroughly and then crushing them to prevent animals from sticking their heads into them. Though the subject of many viral online videos, an animal with its head caught is far from funny if the animal is not able to free itself and survive.



More hazards include glue traps and fly strips that often result in non-target animals stuck in them. Mouse and rat poison also can affect many other animals as well.

“Traps are non-selective and often harm other animals,” added Naniot.

“And of course we have to mention lead, as we see so many eagles, swans, and loons with lead toxicity. We have had four eagles just in the last week and a half with lead poisoning,” he said. “There are safer alternative materials out there for hunting and fishing equipment. It is a little more expensive but far safer for our environment.”

Learn more about how you can help local wildlife and support Wild Instincts by visiting their website.

News Desk
Author: News Desk