Dead deer discovered in Brockenhurst had ingested ribbons attached to helium balloon
THE dangers of helium balloons to wildlife have been tragically highlighted by the death of a young deer in Brockenhurst.
The creature, which was discovered near fencing in a private field on Monday morning, had ingested string and ribbons attached to a helium balloon, with a number of others found nearby.
Brockenhurst resident Rose Sherriff came across the young buck when she out walking on private fields off Culverley Green in Brockenhurst.
She said: “As I was walking around the fields I kept seeing all this debris and silvery paper and then as I got closer I realised there was a young deer lying down by the fence that had sadly ingested the metallic ribbon and died.
“It was a very sad sight to see because the deer had obviously been in distress.
"I imagine it panicked and tried to jump the fence and broke its neck.”
She added: “There is always a herd of deer in the field which is such a beautiful sight – so this was very distressing to discover.”
Rose continued: “I was also very aware it could easily have been one of the horses in the fields or from the neighbouring farm, which are much loved by their owners.
"It could have been an incredibly distressing situation.
“While public awareness of the dangers sky lanterns pose has increased in recent years, I don’t think people are as aware of the dangers of helium balloons.
"More needs to be done to educate people about the dangers when they are purchasing them – especially if it’s from shops in the New Forest.”
As reported in the A&T, there have been calls to ban sky lanterns – balloons made of wire and paper which are given lift by a candle attached underneath.
There have been warnings against them not only as a fire hazard but also as a risk to animals which might choke on the material when it lands.
Head agister Jonathan Gerrelli also called for greater awareness of the risks associated with the party decorations.
He told the A&T: “We have certainly encountered donkeys and cows that have choked on plastic rubbish left in the Forest, and sadly when people let go of helium balloons they have no idea where they will end up as they can travel quite a distance.
“There has been quite a push to raise awareness of the risk of sky lanterns but I don’t think people necessarily realise that helium balloons are along the same lines.
“Any rubbish left in the Forest poses a danger to wildlife and livestock and, of course, no one intends the consequences but they can be very serious.”