Just a few days after footage surfaced showing a Florida alligator eating a bag of garbage, a mother black skimmer was photographed at St. Pete Beach feeding her baby chick a cigarette butt.
The photo was uploaded to Facebook on June 24 by Karen Catbird of Largo, Florida, along with the caption, “If you smoke, please don’t leave your butts behind.”
Right up there with single-use plastics, cigarettes are one of the most collected items on Earth’s beaches. For the past 32 years, the Ocean Conservancy has sponsored an annual worldwide beach cleanup, which has collected more than 60 million butts over that time.
Despite numerous failed bills, Florida is one of the few states where local governments cannot regulate tobacco use. Republican Sen. Joe Gruters of Sarasota filed Senate Bill 218, which would’ve made smoking on public beaches a civil infraction.
Sadly, this was the second time this week that Florida wildlife was documented enjoying human trash. Last weekend, Tallahassee resident Corine Samwel shot a video showing a gator at St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge essentially devouring a pile of garbage.