Photo of adult bird passing cigarette butt to chick sparks more concern for the environment


Ashley Tan | June 27, 2019, 04:34 PM

Photos of animal parents feeding their babies usually evoke warm, fuzzy feelings.

One particular photo however, drew reactions to the contrary.

Feeding cigarette butts instead of food

A photo shared to Facebook by wildlife photographer, Karen Mason, who goes by the Facebook name Karen Catbird, effectively captures the severe impact of pollution on wildlife.

Posted on June 24, the photo depicts an adult black skimmer, likely the parent, offering its baby chick a cigarette butt.

The chick, still clothed in grey down, has the cigarette butt clenched in its beak.

Photo from Karen Catbird / FB

The photo was taken by Mason at St. Pete beach in Florida, and has the caption "If you smoke, please don’t leave your butts behind."

On June 26, Mason posted another photo of a chick also with a cigarette butt in its mouth.

It is not clear if the photographs are of the same chick.

Photo from Karen Catbird / FB

In another Facebook group that Mason shared the photo to, she stated in the caption that she did not track whether the chick ended up ingesting the cigarette butt.

Netizens upset

The photos have since been published on several news sites such as Orlando Sentinel, CBS 17 and News4JAX.

They were also shared in online communities, eliciting much sympathy and anger over the plight of the birds.

Some commenters blamed the smokers for not discarding the butts properly, while others felt that more awareness should be raised about the issue.

Cigarette butts one of the most commonly-littered items in Singapore

Plastic straws and bags usually receive the most vitriol from environmentalists.

But a recent article by CNA reported that in the case of Singapore, cigarette butts were found to be one of the most common litter on the country's beaches.

This is a consistent finding for coastlines around the world as well.

The neglect that cigarette butts face, by green groups, media and clean up crews, is likely due to its small size, making it more inconspicuous.

It was discovered that the cigarette butts littering Singapore's beaches are mostly local in origin as well, and not washed ashore from neighbouring countries.

Top photo from Karen Catbird / FB


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