The lizard in the bottle

To celebrate Coastcare Week, Cottesloe Primary Year 4 students joined us at Cottesloe Beach for a marine debris collection. Kate Sputore, our Coastcare officer, talked about the problems that the litter we leave behind on our beaches causes marine animals and birds. A plastic bag looks like a jellyfish to seals and dolphins, but if swallowed may cause pain, internal injuries or even kill the animal.

Even small pieces of plastic can cause injury and death. Frauke shared the story of the baby albatross that died because its parents fed it small pieces of plastic, thinking it was food. The people who found the baby albatross belonged to the Tangaroa Blue Society which does fantastic work in the south west of WA cleaning up debris from the coast.

After last night’s storm, the beach looked as if it had been swept clean of all rubbish but it was soon obvious that there was a lot of debris – especially small bits of plastic, cigarette butts and bottle tops. Bottles and cans, plastic bags, plastic spoons and other nasties were all soon collected and despatched into rubbish bags.

Just as we were leaving, Rumi, one of our sharp eyed collectors spotted a bottle with a beautiful West Coast Ctenotus lizard (Ctenotus fallens) trapped inside. It was obviously eager for a taste of lager but couldn’t turn around to get out – or maybe was too drunk! Fortunately it was still alive so Kate gently ushered it to freedom. It reminded us all of the often unexpected effects of leaving rubbish on our beaches.

Thanks again to all the Year 4’s, their teacher Mrs Ewing and the parents who came – you really made a difference!