Quantcast

Plastic Bags and Fishing Nets Found in Stomach of Dead Whale

Animals

A mature sperm whale found dead in Taiwan had vast quantities of plastic bags and fishing nets filling its stomach, highlighting the devastating toll of marine pollution.

According to the Association Foreign Press (AFP) news agency, the 15-meter (49-foot) whale was first found stranded near the town of Tongshi on Oct. 15.

Coastguards and scientists returned it to the sea, but three days later, the same whale was found dead around 20 kilometers (12 miles) away.

After conducting an autopsy of the whale, local marine biologists reported that there was enough plastic bags and fishing nets found in its stomach to fill an excavator bucket.

Professor Wang Chien-ping, head of the whale research center at National Cheng-Kung University, told the AFP that while the whale might have died from many causes, such as heart or lung disease or infections, trash was also a culprit.

"The large amount of man-made garbage in the stomach could reduce its appetite and cause malnutrition," he said. "It was likely a critical cause of death."

About 80 percent of the sperm whale's diet is giant squid, so this whale might have mistaken plastic bags for food.

He Chih-ying, spokeswoman for The Society of Wilderness conservation group, spoke about how ocean trash is a major plague to marine life.

"We frequently heard of marine animals killed after swallowing lots of garbage, but this one was the biggest in size for many years," she told the AFP.

The harmful effects of marine pollution have been choking the entire marine food chain, from plankton to much larger creatures.

In August, a group of fishermen in Middle Harbour, Sydney, came across an endangered Southern right whale struggling with a plastic bag and fishing line caught in its mouth. Luckily, the men were able to remove the debris.

Marine biologist Tegan A. L. Mortimer told EcoWatch that incident is a reminder that these creatures live in our backyards and are impacted by human activities.

“Globally, the leading threats to whales, dolphins and porpoises are entanglement in fishing gear and strikes from vessels,” she said. “The impacts of plastic pollution on these animals isn’t well understood but we do know, from examples like this, that these animals are interacting with our plastic trash. Plastic in the ocean is something that everyone can have a positive impact on.”

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Another Whale Dead From Ingesting a Plastic Bag

Palau Creates One of the World’s Largest Marine Sanctuaries

Acclaimed Mermaid Delivers Strong Message to Chicken of the Sea

A Sneak Peek at Jon and Tracey Stewart’s Animal Rescue Farm

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Pixabay

By Manuella Libardi

Leaked documents show that Jair Bolsonaro's government intends to use the Brazilian president's hate speech to isolate minorities living in the Amazon region. The PowerPoint slides, which democraciaAbierta has seen, also reveal plans to implement predatory projects that could have a devastating environmental impact.

Read More Show Less
XL CATLIN SEAVIEW SURVEY / THE OCEAN AGENCY

Hope may be on the horizon for the world's depleted coral reefs thanks to scientists who successfully reproduced endangered corals in a laboratory setting for the first time, according to Reuters.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored

Last week we received positive news on the border wall's imminent construction in an Arizona wildlife refuge. The Trump administration delayed construction of the wall through about 60 miles of federal wildlife preserves.

Read More Show Less
PhotoAlto / Frederic Cirou / Getty Images

Drinking water treated with fluoride during pregnancy may lead to lower IQs in children, a controversial new study has found.

Read More Show Less
National Institude of Allergy and Infectious Disease

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warned Thursday of a drug-resistant strain of salmonella newport linked to the overuse of antibiotics in cattle farming.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
A Greenpeace rally calls for a presidential campaign climate debate on June 12 in Washington, DC. Sarah Silbiger / Getty Images

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) voted down a resolution calling for an official, party-sanctioned debate on the climate crisis, ABC News reported Thursday.

Read More Show Less
Ryan Hagerty / USFWS

It's become a familiar story with the Trump administration: Scientists write a report that shows the administration's policies will cause environmental damage, then the administration buries the report and fires the scientists.

Read More Show Less
Valerie / Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

A coalition of some of the largest environmental groups in the country joined forces to file a lawsuit in federal court challenging the Trump administration's maneuver to weaken the Endangered Species Act.

Read More Show Less