More than 7,000 wild animals required medical treatment last year for injuries related to plastic waste, the Israel Nature and Parks Authority reported Sunday, as it launched a special series of drinking bottles in conjunction with SodaStream to raise awareness about the dangers of single-use plastic.
The bottles, decorated with pictures of soft-shell tortoises, fallow deer and bats, will be sold for NIS 10 each at selected INPA nature reserves and national parks during the upcoming Sukkot holiday.
The proceeds will be used to run training courses and buy first-aid kits and equipment for a special INPA unit called Hai-Bulance (Animal-bulance), which uses volunteers countrywide to ensure that injured animals are brought to the veterinary hospital at the Ramat Gan Safari as quickly as possible.
Roni King, INPA’s chief veterinarian, said, “Plastic is one of the main causes of injury to wildlife and the ecosystem. It takes hundreds of years to break down and disappear.
“Nature is full of fragments of plastic that animals eat,” he said. “This ranges from birds feeding plastic to their chicks and fish eating plastic that to them looks like the tiny crabs that they feed on. In the sea, plastic bags and wet wipes are eaten by sea turtles and in the desert, they’re eaten by gazelles.
“Plastic bags and wet wipes were found in the bellies of nearly every gazelle that has been examined. These can harm their digestive systems and force them to suffer from extreme hunger, even when there’s plenty of food around.”
If you see an injured wild animal, or want to know more about Hai-Bulance, call INPA on *3639.