What goes up, must come down – and in the case of sky lanterns and helium balloons – they can have devastating consequences to wildlife and the environment.
In the last week DZC staff retrieved a children’s helium balloon from the otter enclosure, while we also found a used sky lantern in the 11th century castle courtyard and another on the roof of the Sumatran tiger dens.
Thankfully, none of our animals or historic buildings were harmed, but it could have been a very different outcome.
Sky lanterns often contain a metal frame, which holds the burner. Not only do they pose a serious fire risk to buildings, crops and woodland, but they can so easily be ingested by animals, who can also get tangled in the lantern’s framework or balloon string.
And even if helium balloons and lanterns are sold as biodegradable and metal free, they will still take months to decompose, littering the landscape where they fell, while also remaining a danger to wildlife.
Why not consider environmentally friendly celebrations instead, including planting flowers or trees, blowing bubbles using eco-friendly solution or even flying kites!