THE RSPCA in Wales says it has received a “worrying” number of calls about animals affected by litter over the past two years.

The animal welfare charity received more than 300 reports about animals found severely injured, trapped, mutilated, choked or even dead from discarded litter in 2020 and 2021.

In 2021 there were 157 reports – an increase on the 148 reports made to the RSPCA in 2020.

Cardiff, in both years, had the highest number of calls with 22, while 20 calls each came from Conwy and The Vale of Glamorgan in 2021.

In Gwent, a total of 19 calls were made in 2020 and 14 in 2021.

In total the RSPCA took 7,441 calls about animals affected by litter during 2020 and 2021 from across England and Wales.

RSPCA Scientific Officer Evie Button said: “Our staff deal with a worrying amount of incidents every year where animals have been impacted by litter - and they’re the ones that we know of.

"I’m sure for every animal we’re able to help there are many that go unseen, unreported and may even lose their lives. 

“Litter is one of the biggest hazards our wildlife faces today.  It's a problem on all of our doorsteps - from city centres to the countryside and beaches -  so all of us can do something to help.

"Spring is an ideal time to go on a litter-pick because it's before the breeding season when young animals such as fox cubs start getting into trouble, and litter will be more visible in hedges before the vegetation really starts growing."

As well as everyday rubbish, the RSPCA also sees many animals arriving into its care with terrible injuries caused by angling litter such as discarded fishing line and hooks to plastic netting. 

Ms Button added: “Animals who get their heads or necks stuck in litter can suffer severe injuries as they struggle to break free and can even suffocate, while others will slowly grow weaker and weaker as they try to hunt or find food or water. 

“Others will get fishing line or netting cutting deep into their skin, affecting circulation and with wounds becoming seriously infected. These hazards can very quickly become a matter of life or death for these animals and action is urgently needed to tackle this problem head-on. It’s up to every one of us to do our bit in the war against litter.”