Stag dies after being found tangled in plastic
15 November 2019, 13:02 | Updated: 15 November 2019, 14:56
A stag has died after becoming tangled in a mass of plastic strapping.
The animal was found with the plastic wrapped around its mouth and antlers by a local gamekeeper on the west coast of Jura on the Inner Hebrides.
It is believed the stag was grazing on seaweed along the island's shoreline when the plastic caught on its antlers.
The stag was starving for about a week as the tape was covering its mouth.
Although it was alive when discovered, it had to be put down.
Scott Muir, 32, who lives on the island, said he found the animal in distress.
"I was walking over the estate when I saw the plastic waste and realised there was a stag caught," he said.
"I thought it was dead at first but as I approached it I could see his head start to move.
"These can be 18-stone 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."
He added: "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."
Pictures of the stag entangled in plastic were posted on Facebook by Wild Side of Jura, a group aiming to protect the area's coastline.
Mr Muir is a member of the group and says plastic pollution on the island 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 [it was] some sort of commercial fishing, fish farm, which is what we are trying to stop on the west coast of Jura."
But one commenter on social media said it was not fair to blame fishermen as the plastic could have come from packaging instead.
They said: "All forms of plastic in the ocean are bad, a great deal come from us landlubbers dropping in a town which blows into a river then out to sea, forever then at sea. Think, when we all walk past that plastic bag!"
(c) Sky News 2019: Stag dies after being found tangled in plastic