CAPE HATTERAS: Number of balloons found on beach more than doubled in 2023

CAPE HATTERAS, N.C. (WITN) – The number of balloons that could be deadly to wildlife collected along the Cape Hatteras National Seashore more than doubled in 2023 from the previous year.

Park biologists say they found 1,786 balloons along the seashore last year, compared to 733 collected in 2022.

While balloons are a common source of celebration and joy, biologists say they can break down into small pieces of brightly colored plastic that look like food.

This past fall, a Gervais’ beaked whale was found dead on the Crystal Coast and a necropsy found a plastic balloon crumpled up and obstructing the 11-foot whale’s gastrointestinal tract.

Cape Hatteras reminds everyone to think twice before you release a balloon into the air. “There are many ways to celebrate without potentially harming the environment,” the seashore said in a statement.