Volunteer finds dead bobtail trapped in plastic

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Adam PoulsenMidwest Times
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Bob Taylor was picking up rubbish along North West Coastal Highway when he found this dead bobtail trapped in a plastic bag.
Camera IconBob Taylor was picking up rubbish along North West Coastal Highway when he found this dead bobtail trapped in a plastic bag. Credit: Mary Taylor

A Geraldton volunteer who has picked up roadside rubbish for decades says he was horrified to find a dead bobtail trapped in plastic recently.

Bob Taylor made the grisly discovery near the 440 Roadhouse on Northwest Coastal Highway.

“I’ve been picking up rubbish for 26 years now and that’s probably one of the worst things I’ve seen,” the 76-year-old said.

Wildlife rescuer Darren Darch said animals often died after becoming stuck or entangled in litter.

The Fauna for the Future founder said drink containers were particularly dangerous to snakes and lizards seeking moisture.

“Bottles and cans are a death sentence,” he said. “Once they’re in there, they can’t back out because their scales are actually facing the other way.

“It becomes like a fish hook with a barb.

“If you see a can and you can’t take it with you, at least squash it so animals can’t get inside.”

Mr Darch said rings from plastic bottle lids could also get stuck around birds’ beaks, causing them to starve to death.

Other bird killers included fishing line and plastic string.

“That will become a nesting material and the young ones get their feet stuck in it,” he said.

“Then the circulation gets cut off and they get their leg amputated – that happens a hell of a lot with plastic.

“One time I had to get the Geraldton fire brigade in to rescue a Corella that was up the top of a tree with fishing line wrapped around his leg.

“He was stuck in the tree, flying around like he was an ornament.”

A more unusual find for Mr Darch was a dead Gould’s monitor inside a discarded handbag near Mullewa. He said the unfortunate animal had probably been seeking shade.

According to a report by the Keep Australia Beautiful Council WA, littering and illegal dumping is higher in WA than in most other Australian states and territories.

The report states cigarette butts are the most commonly littered item, followed by plastics, paper and cardboard, metal, and glass.

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