45-year-old Kym Welsh was just out photographing the nature in all its glory when she came across something disturbing.
The woman had headed over to the land of Anton Lakes Nature Reserve last month after hearing that new ducklings had hatched on the surface.
But when she reached there with her camera, she was that the young little ones were busy eating cigarette stubs.
Immediately, she snapped a few pictures of those ducklings.
Luckily, the ducklings didn’t swallow the butt and eventually, got back into the lake. However, according to Kym, people need to learn more about the consequences of their actions.
She said, “I just think it’s absolutely atrocious. There are bins dotted all the way around the lake so there is no need to litter. I was concerned for the ducklings. I felt bad that I was taking pictures of them but there was nothing I could do because even if I hadn’t been there they would still do the same thing.
I felt concerned for them because the cigarettes contain toxic ingredients so I was rather hoping for their sake that they wouldn’t eat them, so it’s good news that they didn’t.
I was worried that they were eating them. It’s not going to be any good for them. It was a worrying thing to see because I didn’t think they would bother with stuff like that but they just pick up anything.
I was worried they would be at risk of dying. When I got home I googled cigarette butts and wildlife, and I read a few things. The toxic ingredients inside the cigarette butts are extremely harmful. That’s why I took the pictures, because I thought more people need to be aware of this.”
While her pictures are aesthetically pleasing, seeing the ducklings facing hazard in such close proximity is quite disturbing.
Kym, who herself is a ‘massive anti-smoker’, continued, “How could you do that? Just think. I had heard the ducklings were born so I went down there first thing in the morning.
I just popped down to my local lake, and they all came out of the water with their mum. As ducklings do, they looked for food all the time. One found it, picked it up and passed it to the other one. They dropped it and went off after their mum back into the water.
It was at a nature reserve which is why it really upset me because when you walk around there that’s what you expect – nature. You shouldn’t just throw away your fag butts. That’s terrible.
People that go to these places need to remember that it is a nature reserve and you can’t just throw your trash down because little tiny things like ducklings and cygnets will eat anything.”
She said that people who couldn’t manage their wastes have ‘no consideration for the wildlife’:
“It really got to me. If even one person thinks twice before littering and walking away after seeing these photos, then I will be happy with that.
It’s a very tidy nature reserve. They do have wardens around there, but the area where the ducklings were was the entrance to it.
They have a lot of footfall compared to the rest of the lake. Some people come in to quickly feed the ducks and go, have a fag, drop it. It is quite a nice, tidy nature reserve, but unfortunately that happens.”
One also needs to know that this isn’t the first time Kym has come across animals being traumatized because of human activities.
Previously, she photographed a seagull in Cornwall attempting to eat a foil butter wrapper.
She had responded, “It was in his mouth and he was picking up litter and it had a foil butter wrapper in its mouth. It probably did eat it. There were bins around and that sort of thing can also fly off a table too.
I suppose it happens all the time where wildlife is dealing with litter, but unless you see it for yourself it’s not something you really think about. It’s just a shame.”
Hopefully, Kym’s efforts will be worthwhile and people will listen to all the evidence she has gathered.
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