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Whale Found With 40kg Of Plastic In Its Stomach

Claire Reid

| Last updated 

Whale Found With 40kg Of Plastic In Its Stomach

A dead whale that washed ashore in the Philippines was found to have 40kg (88lbs) of plastic in its stomach.

The Cuvier's beaked whale was found dead in the Compostela Valley earlier in March; an autopsy was carried out by staff from Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Fishery Management Regulatory Division, led by marine biologist Darrell Blatchley, who owns D'Bone Collector Museum, and Dr Elaine Belvis where the shocking discovery was made.

Blatchley told CNN its cause of death was dehydration and starvation due to swallowing so much plastic. He said it 'had the most plastic we have ever seen in a whale'.

"I was not prepared for the amount of plastic," he told the news outlet.

"Forty kilos roughly of rice sacks, grocery bags, banana plantation bags, and general plastic bags. Sixteen rice sacks total. It was so big; the plastic was beginning calcification."

Grim images from the animal's autopsy show piles of plastic being taken from its stomach. Blatchley said that the team will continue to sift through the rubbish pulled from the whale's insides to get a full list of the items that clogged up its stomach.

"Doing this is not just for our gain but mainly to give education and for people to realise how magnificent these animals are," he added.

In a post on Facebook, D'Bone Collector Museum announced the whale's cause of death and shared photos which showed some of the items found in its stomach, before urging the government to take action on plastic pollution.

Shocking images show the amount of plastic the whale had swallowed. Credit: D'Bone Collector Museum
Shocking images show the amount of plastic the whale had swallowed. Credit: D'Bone Collector Museum

Revealing a shocking and tragic trend, Blatchley said: "In the last 10 years we have recovered 61 whales and dolphins, of which 57 have died due to fishing nets, dynamite fishing, and plastic garbage. Four were pregnant. This cannot continue. The Philippines needs to change from the children up or nothing will be left."

Last year, in Indonesia, a sperm whale was found with six kilograms in its stomach, including more than one hundred throw-away drinking cups.

The whale was found rotting just off the coast of the Wakatobi national park in Southeast Sulawesi and when examined was found to have swallowed just less than six kilograms of plastic waste - including 25 single-use carrier bags, four plastic bottles and 115 cups.

Although scientists weren't able to ascertain what killed the animal, it was a harsh warning about the dangers of plastic pollution.

DwiSuprapti, a World Wildlife Fund Indonesia marine species conservation coordinator, said: "Although we have not been able to deduce the cause of death, the facts that we see are truly awful."

Topics: World News, trash isles, Animals

Claire Reid
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