Waves nailed to the coast of Olga Bay an orange balloon depicting Donald Duck, the hero of the Disney cartoons. Olga Bay is a section of the Pacific waters of the Kronotsky Reserve, where various species of sea animals and birds, including the Red Book species, live. For each of them, a bright and harmless, at first glance, the object was a threat. The appearance of a foreign object in the reserve was another confirmation that some of the modern traditions of people do not pass without traces for wildlife, and sometimes entail the death of animals. Bright objects attract the attention of animals and birds, which perceive them as food: for example, salmon or salmon caviar.
“We found the balloon with a long, strong ribbon that got entangled in sea kale while patrolling the coast of Olga Bay. Naturally, they took the garbage to the cordon and burned it. As recent animal studies have shown, there are a lot of foxes on the coast, and such a bright object could well attract their attention. Foxes are curious and literally try everything on the tooth. They could swallow a ball, get entangled in a synthetic tape and die. In addition, the coastal waters of the Kronotsky Gulf - the habitat of the Red Book sea otters, gray and humpback whales, Steller's sea eagles, also arrange seals, seagulls and other seabirds concentrate here,” - said Ilya Kudryashov, state inspector of the Kronotsky Reserve.
There are many photographs in the public domain on the Internet, on the websites of environmental organizations in evidence of the fact that animals are injured and killed by balloons.
“Balloons are part of one big problem of ocean pollution from human activities. During storms, a variety of objects that fall into the water from transport and fishing vessels are nailed to the coast of the Kronotsky Reserve. These are the network parts of the trawls that are brought to Kamchatka from manufacturing countries, barrels of fuel and lubricants and chemicals, plastic and glass bottles and more. Now, on the ground, our inspectors remove garbage from the coastal strip as far as possible,” - said Roman Korchigin, Deputy Director for educational tourism in Kronotsky State Reserve.
Today, a number of projects are being prepared to clean the protected coast from waste hazardous to animals and their habitats, in particular from plastic and nets. The timing of the programs will depend on the epidemiological situation in the Kamchatka Territory. Recall that in 2018, the leadership of the Kronotsky Reserve, along with colleagues from specially protected natural areas in the Far Eastern Federal District, came up with an initiative to ban the launch of balloons filled with helium during mass holidays and events. The attributes of the holiday cover great distances and do not decompose for decades.
While the mass launch of balloons during the holidays in Russia has not been outlawed, environmentalists are asking citizens to show awareness and abandon the momentary joy in favor of the life of the inhabitants of the protected areas.