A sea gull was rescued in Britain after being spotted with its legs tangled in a discarded surgical face mask. Photo courtesy of the RSPCA
July 20 (UPI) -- Animal rescuers in Britain came to the rescue of a sea gull that had some problems wearing its coronavirus face mask properly -- it was wrapped around the bird's feet.
The RSPCA said Inspector Adam Jones responded to Chelmsford, Essex, when witnesses at a nearby business reported the gull seemed unable to move after earlier being spotted having difficulty walking.
"Staff at a car showroom nearby had spotted the gull around a week earlier and were concerned that he seemed to be struggling to walk. Whenever they got near him to see what was wrong he flew off," Jones said.
"But on Saturday they became increasingly concerned because he'd been sat in the same spot for hours and didn't appear to be moving," he said.
"I went out to catch him and when he tried to hop away he would stumble and fall. As soon as I caught him it was clear to see why as the poor thing had a disposable COVID face mask tangled around both legs," Jones said.
He took the bird to South Essex Wildlife Hospital, where the surgical mask was carefully cut free from the bird's legs.
"It's clear the mask was there for some time and the elastic straps had tightened around his legs as his joints were swollen and sore," Jones said. "Thankfully, he's been doing well and is being monitored closely. They've now released him out into an aviary with other gulls and, when the group is ready, they'll all be released together."
He said the incident should serve as a reminder to members of the public to properly dispose of their face masks due to the potential hazard to wildlife.