The RSPCA are urging animal lovers to refrain from lighting Chinese Sky Lanterns this New Year.
Whilst the lanterns are pretty to watch floating across the sky, many cause fire risks as well as pose a threat to animals and wildlife.
Sometimes, if the wind causes a lantern to tilt slightly, it can catch fire, causing a flame to hit the ground. This can be potentially lethal depending on where it lands, not only destroying animal’s habitats, but home and property too.
Various fires have been caused across the United Kingdom due to the use of Chinese sky lanterns in recent years, and fire services across the country urge those planning to light one this year to think again.
Threat to Animals
Alongside the fire hazard, Chinese sky lanterns also cause a major threat to animals. Animals can become entangled in the lantern’s bamboo structure, and can be injured or become stressed whilst struggling to free themselves. In severe cases, animals can starve to death.
This picture of a barn owl trapped inside the frame of a lantern is from the RSPCA website.
There have been reports that sharp parts of the lanterns can also cause internal bleeding in animals and livestock if they accidentally eat them. Farmers and landowners urge people not to set the lanterns off, as the parts can also be mixed in with animal feed during harvest.
Please ensure you pick up any lantern debris that you find, and try to encourage others to refrain from lighting lanterns too. You can find out more on the RSPCA website.