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Red squirrel has died after becoming trapped inside a discarded plastic jar

Heartbreaking images show lifeless body of endangered red squirrel trapped inside discarded plastic jar where it died trying to get food. The squirrel was found by a busy roadside after it had obviously suffered a prolonged and painful death. Grampian Moorland Group shared the images on its Facebook page to warn people to dispose of their rubbish responsibly. Saving Scotland's Red Squirrels Project said it hoped the "distressing" images would help educate the public. The squirrel can be seen with the front half of its body stuck inside the clear plastic jar. Its head can be seen poking through a cracked piece of plastic at the bottom of the discarded container. It is believed the animal had found the jar, tried to get at food remains inside and cut its throat whilst trying to pull itself back out. One of the squirrel's claws can also be seen poking out from another cracked area suggesting it had tried to claw its way out. There are estimated to be only 140,000 red squirrels remaining in the UK, 75% of which are in Scotland. Red Squirrels Northern England has classified Formby and the wider Sefton Coast as one of the 17 Red Squirrel strongholds in the North of England. Look at this map, in 150 years the decline in red squirrels is unbelievable so if we can help by not leaving plastic litter lying around then we should. 

People need to be made aware of the dangers of plastic rubbish with our beautiful wildlife. The disturbing images prove the dangers that littering has on wildlife. In May this year, a red squirrel in Formby had a piece of plastic stuck around its neck. 

Read the full story here: Grampian Moorland Group wrote: "Discarded plastic proves hazardous to wildlife. One of our gamekeepers found this poor soul in a plastic jar, at woods, next to the busy main road, a popular scenic and tourist route." "Hopefully the photo will highlight the importance of discarding your rubbish appropriately." Dr Mel Tonkin, Saving Scotland's Red Squirrels Project manager, said: "It is deeply distressing to see any animal suffer in this way, and it is tragic that a single piece of plastic has caused the death of a protected species." "After years of decline, red squirrel populations are only just beginning to recover thanks to the collective efforts of volunteers, landowners and conservation organisations, but there is still a long way to go. "Litter is indiscriminate in its impact, and each thoughtless act can have serious consequences for our country's special wildlife." As plastic can take up to 1,000 years to break down, once an animal dies and decays after ingesting plastic, the plastic is then freed back into the environment to carry on killing other wildlife. 

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