Donna Nook: Seal image 'highlights impact of marine litter'

image copyrightDan Thurling/Media Lincs
image captionThe image of the grey seal pup with a glass bottle in its mouth was widely shared online

A widely shared photo of a seal pup with a glass Starbucks bottle in its mouth has highlighted the dangers posed by marine litter, officials said.

The image was taken last week at the Donna Nook reserve in Lincolnshire by photographer Dan Thurling.

Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust said it showed "the impact human activity has on grey seals and other marine wildlife".

Starbucks has offered to work with the trust in an effort to protect the area.

The trust said it was grateful to Starbucks for its support.

However, a spokesperson said: "Marine litter is a national issue and the wildlife trusts are therefore calling on government to better protect and restore our marine environment, including tackling the major sources."

They said although regular beach cleans took place on the Lincolnshire coast washed up waste posed a real threat.

The trust works with the Ministry of Defence at Donna Nook to clear litter as the reserve is on an active weapons range.

image copyrightDan Thurling/Media Lincs
image captionStarbucks has offered to work with the trust to manage waste washed up at the site

A Starbucks spokesperson said: "We are deeply saddened by this image.

"At Starbucks, reducing waste by increasing recycling and encouraging reuse is something we are passionate about."

Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust said it had also had problems with discarded fishing ropes and frisbee-like toys getting caught around the necks of seals.

More than 1,500 seal pups were born at the reserve this year, and visitors are being urged to report any incidents to wardens.

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It comes after news a sperm whale which died after stranding on the Isle of Harris had a 100kg "litter ball" in its stomach.

Fishing nets, rope, packing straps, bags and plastic cups were among the items discovered in a compacted mass.

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