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A fox cub who had litter stuck around his neck for three weeks has been rescued and is being cared for at a wildlife centre.
The young animal, who struggled to eat and drink, was pictured with a large, brown, square block, wider than his ear-span, wrapped around his neck.
Members of the public reported the cub had been struggling for three weeks after first being spotted in Acocks Green in Birmingham.
It was eventually found lethargic, emaciated and dehydrated by rescue officers and the obstruction was removed before the animal was transferred to a wildlife centre for rehabilitation.
RSPCA animal rescue officer Cara Gibbon said the situation could have been avoided easily.
She said: “It is so sad and heartbreaking to know that this poor fox wouldn’t have been in this situation if someone had disposed of their litter correctly in the first place.
“Thankfully we were able to safely catch him and remove the litter and we transferred him to a wildlife centre where he was checked over.
“He was emaciated and dehydrated, likely because he hasn’t been able to eat or drink properly for three weeks – but thankfully he’s now getting the treatment he needs.”
Over the last three years, there have been more than 10,000 calls about animals affected by litter, according to the RSPCA.
Sadly, for every animal we’re able to help, there are probably many that go unseen, unreported and may even lose their lives
Evie Button, RSPCA
The charity receives an average of nearly 10 reports per day about injured, trapped, mutilated or dead animals due to discarded litter and is urging the public to dispose of rubbish correctly to protect animals and wildlife.
RSPCA scientific officer Evie Button said: “Litter is one of the biggest hazards our wildlife faces today.
“Our staff deal with thousands of incidents every year where animals have been impacted by carelessly discarded litter – and what they are seeing is probably just the tip of the iceberg.
“Sadly, for every animal we’re able to help, there are probably many that go unseen, unreported and may even lose their lives.
“Animals who get their heads or necks stuck in litter can suffer severe injuries as they struggle to break free and can even suffocate, while others will slowly grow weaker and weaker as they try to hunt or find food or water.
“Our message to the public is simple – do the right thing and throw your litter away to avoid more animals from suffering.”