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Sky Lanterns can be fatal

A warning has been issued about the dangers sky lanterns pose to animals as Wales prepares to mark Halloween.

Sky, or ‘Chinese’, lanterns,  can be a popular part of the Halloween celebrations – but RSPCA Cymru has reminded the public that they can be “fatal to animals”.

The devices – which are lifted into the air via an open flame heat source – can be ingested by animals, or cause entanglement or entrapment. This can lead to wildlife, pets or farm animals suffering injury, stress or even death.

When ingested the sharp parts of sky lanterns can tear and puncture an animal’s throat or stomach causing internal bleeding.

Lanterns also pose danger as a fire hazard – destroying habitats, and potentially setting animal housing, feed and bedding alight. Marine life is also endangered by lanterns falling into the sea.

An outright ban on their use across Wales remains the primary objective for the RSPCA – however they have welcomed “considerable progress” in recent years, with 17 of Wales’ 22 Local Authorities having implemented local bans on their release on the land which they control.

Chris O’Brien, RSPCA Spokesperson

The public is being urged to take action, and sign RSPCA Cymru’s campaign which urges Councils to implement a ban on their land on the release of sky lanterns – with more than three quarters in Wales now having done so. The remaining five yet to do so are Ynys Mon, Flintshire, Wrexham, Merthyr and Newport – though the latter is due to discuss the issue at Cabinet level, after full council voted in favour of a ban.