Soccer may be 'the beautiful game' but the sport's increasing popularity is making life ugly for nocturnal wildlife trapped in the tough webbing of unoccupied goal nets.  

Wildlife Endangered By Unused Soccer Nets

Another night, another owl tangled and trapped by a carelessly left-standing soccer net. The Great Horned Owl above was one of the lucky ones: not lucky to have been trapped, of course, but fortunate to be rescued before it suffered further, perhaps fatal, injuries.

The hobbled hooter was found by Chantal Theijn of Jarvis, Ontario-based Hobbitstee Wildlife Refuge, who states this seemingly odd happenstance isn't uncommon... in fact, it's getting worse. Other creatures such as deer and moose get tangled in the nets as well, and the tough webbing that's a boon for players acts as a form of “flypaper” for wildlife unprepared for the encounter and ill-equipped to escape.

Wildlife Endangered By Unused Soccer Nets

Theijn recalls the time she helped a trapped deer get untangled from a soccer net only to learn it had to be put down after suffering from Capture Myopathy. This tragic, irreversible condition is induced by the severe stress brought on by entrapment – affected creatures literally die of fright!

“It made all of us sad; something so preventable,” explains Theijn. “Wild animals who move after dark simply can't see the netting. The solution which will prevent any of this is so simple: Please roll up soccer nets when they are not in use... it will prevent so much unnecessary wildlife suffering.” As for the Great Horned Owl above, staff at Hobbitstee Wildlife Refuge nursed her back to health before returning the majestic bird to the wild. The ultimate “goal”, however, is to avoid such unwanted entanglements entirely. (via CBC)