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Stag put down after getting tangled in discarded plastic

Samuel Lovett
Wild Side of Jura /SWNS.COM

A stag was put down after being found tangled on a hillside in a mass of discarded plastic waste.

It is thought the stag had been eating seaweed on the shoreline of the Scottish island of Jura in the Inner Hebrides when plastic banding caught its mouth, making it difficult to feed.

The creature's antlers were also covered by plastic

It was discovered in a state of distress by gamekeeper Scott Muir.

“I was walking over the estate when I saw the plastic waste and realised there was a stag caught,” the 32-year-old said. “I thought it was dead at first but as I approached it I could see his head start to move.

Mr Muir said plastic pollution on Jura had been getting worse over the last few years (Wild Side of Jura /SWNS.COM)

“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.

“He wouldn’t have been able to graze either as it was right over his mouth, so he was effectively starving.

“He would have been down at the shore grazing on seaweed, like a lot of the stags do, and as he has had his antlers down they have caught in the plastic banding. 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.”

Mr Muir, who has lived on the island - which has a population of 230 - for all his life, said plastic pollution on the coast has worsened in recent years.

“We have seen an increase in plastic waste on the west coast in the last five, six years,” he said. “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.”

Additional reporting by agencies.

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