WARNING GRAPHIC IMAGES BELOW
HORRIFIC images show the lifeless body of an endangered red squirrel trapped inside a discarded plastic jar.
The animal was found yesterday (wed) by the Grampian Moorland Group after it had obviously suffered a prolonged and painful death.
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.
The red squirrel is now regarded as one of Scotland’s most threatened mammal species.
The heartbreaking images are yet another example of the dangers that littering have on our wildlife.
Grampian Moorland Group shared the images on Facebook last night (wed) to warn members of the public to dispose of rubbish correctly.
They 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.
“This isn’t a positive #wehavewildlife post this evening, but hopefully it will highlight the importance of discarding your rubbish appropriately.
They ended the post with the hashtags “#redsquirrel”, “#endangered”, “#plastic” and “#gmg”.
The post was shared over one hundred times and attracted dozens of comments from furious followers.
John Jones said: “Idiots might as well have left a trap!”
Christine Bell wrote: “Poor little beggar, as if there isn’t enough for them to compete against within natural without mankind having a further hand in it.”
Joanne Hammond Wiggins said: “Poor little sausage.”
And Jack Halford wrote: “Such a shame it’s a red one as well, b**y litter bugs.”
While 75% of the UK’s remaining red squirrels are found in Scotland their numbers have fallen drastically in recent decades to just 120,000.
This is largely due the spread of the non-native grey squirrel, which was first introduced from North America by people in the late 1800s.
Grey squirrels also carry squirrelpox, a virus that doesn’t harm them but is deadly to reds.