Western Isles stag at ‘serious’ risk after plastic binding wraps its head and throat

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A stag in the Western Isles is at “serious” risk after discarded plastic binding was entangled around its head and throat.

The animal was photographed near the roadside in Stoneybridge in South Uist by a concerned islander.

Strands of man-made fibre are seen tightly wrapped around the deer’s face and antlers.

Red stags die entwined in washed-up fishing rope on Hebridean island

While the harm from marine rubbish has been regularly highlighted recently, plastic waste is also causing damage to countryside wildlife and the rural environment.

David Maclennan, Outer Hebrides area manager for Scottish Natural Heritage, voiced concern for the stag “especially the way it looks quite tight around the head and neck.”

He explained: “As the stag turns into a rutting stag in September / October the neck swells considerably – so I could see that being a serious problem for it.”

Mr Maclennan highlighted plastic pollution is a growing problem across the Western Isles.

He said thrown away “plastic binding” is “horrendous” when animals get entangled in it.

Stags are particularly at risk because of the way they forage on the ground for food.

Their antlers often pick up debris which can end up as a “ball of plastic” above their heads.

There is also a “high risk of death” for deer snagged in old rope, netting or unwanted fencing not disposed off properly, he added.

His advice is for people spotting a tangled deer is to contact the land owner or SSPCA.

A spokesman for South Uist community landlord Stòras Uibhist said a gamekeeper would go and help any deer in trouble if they were made aware.