Wellington Zoo is warning New Zealanders to pick up their rubbish after a pied shag died when it swallowed a vape pen.
The juvenile bird was dropped off at the zoo by SPCA Wellington after it was found on the ground weak and emaciated last month.
Pictures demonstrate the sheer size of the vape compared to the bird, with one X-ray showing the object lodged inside the animal.
The Nest Te Kōhanga, Wellington Zoo's animal hospital and centre for native wildlife, performed an endoscopy and managed to remove the vape pen, but the shag later died.
"Our team suspect he wouldn't have been able to eat for days before he came in and would've suffered from serious metal and nicotine poisoning," Wellington Zoo said.
The team said animals suffering from similar problems are brought to them regularly.
"A sad reminder to please always tidy up after yourself and make sure these lovely birds don't mistake your rubbish for food."
Facebook users were outraged that litter was the reason the bird died.
"Thank you Wellington Zoo for doing your best for this poor bird and my fury is directed at the stupidity of litterbugs who can't be bothered taking away their trash and putting it in a rubbish bin," one wrote.
"That poor bird. Vaping = the new plastic bag. Can everyone please take all their rubbish home and dispose of it correctly," said another.