A young stork in Saxony-Anhalt had 300 rubber bands in its stomach. He died – and is not an isolated case. To protect storks, the Nature Conservation Union (Nabu) has called on people to be more careful when disposing of rubber bands – and under no circumstances to put them in the organic waste with leftover cut flowers, for example.

The animals think the rubbers are earthworms and take them as supposed food, as the animal rights activists announced on Friday. Accordingly, the storks often die as a result.

Two young storks from Bad D├╝rrenberg in Saxony-Anhalt died after being fed rubber bands by their parents for weeks. One of the animals had 300 rubber bands weighing 600 grams in its stomach. A third animal from the nest has disappeared.

The Nabu is trying to find out where the rubber bands come from and already has initial findings: they were found in organic waste bins in the town of Bad D├╝rrenberg. It is very likely that the rubber from the organic bins will end up in nature via composting plants, it said.

Not only private households, but also supermarkets, weekly markets, greengrocers, flower shops and farmers could be the cause. When goods bundled with rubber, such as cut flowers or radishes, are disposed of, or when they are bundled, the rubber ends up in organic waste on farmland, it was said.