Quantcast
Animals

Whale Found Dead With Small Pieces of Plastic Garbage in Its Stomach

Another whale dead from plastic? A male sei whale was found beached at the mouth of the Sarang Buaya River in Johor, Malaysia earlier this month with marine debris in its stomach. According to one report, local fishermen witnessed the stranded whale shedding tears and groaning as it took its last breaths.

After a necropsy was performed on the 12 meter-long whale, Johor Fisheries Department Director Munir Mohd Nawi told The Star that small pieces of plastic garbage and parasites were found in the carcass. A large quantity of mud was also found the whale's respiratory tract and obstructed his breathing.

"There is also a high number of orange-colored nematode parasites within its intestines," Munir said. "During the post mortem, we also found its internal organs to be badly damaged.”

Further tests including a tissue examination will be conducted to see if the whale had any other diseases.

“We want to know its exact cause of death as the sei whale is an endangered species under the International Union for Conservation of Nature,” Munir said.

The baleen whale was first spotted two days earlier at the waters of the coastal district of Pontian. Local rescuers were able to tow the 15-tonne mammal into deeper waters but he later surfaced 90 nautical miles away in the shallow waters of the Sungai Sarang River.

The sight of the dying whale startled local residents. “Before its death, I was stunned by its loud groans and tears, as if it knew it would die soon," eye-witness Mohd Johari Hamdan told The Malaysia Insider.

Read page 1

The World Wildlife Fund said there are approximately 12,000 sei whales left on the planet. The sei whale is a major target for commercial whaling and 50 of these creatures are killed annually by Japanese whalers in the North Pacific in Japan's "scientific whaling" program.

Sei whales are also threatened by global warming, pollution, ship strikes and entanglement in fishing gear, the WWF said.

Like any other baleen whale, the sei whale skims surface waters for plankton, tiny marine crustaceans and krill.

Last August, EcoWatch reported on a Southern right baleen whale that was found struggling with a plastic bag and fishing line caught in its mouth. Luckily, local fishermen were able to remove the trash from the whale and it swam away.

Not much is known about the impact of plastic trash on filter-feeding or baleen whales, but the microplastics as well as the toxins released from plastic debris could potentially cause great danger, according to the Inquirer.

“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," marine biologist Tegan A. L. Mortimer told EcoWatch.

With 8 million tons of plastics leaking into our oceans every year, a report published in January said there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Massive Starfish Die-Off Linked to Warming Oceans

Humpback Whale Entangled in Illegal Gillnet Saved by Sea Shepherd Crew

Horrible! This Guy Drags Shark From Sea Just to Pose for Photos

This City Just Banned Single Use Coffee Pods: Will Others Follow?

Show Comments ()

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Sponsored
Energy
Pipe being transported to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Photo credit: Mark Levisay / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Atlantic Coast Pipeline Work Restarts as Opponents Decry 'Rushed Decisions'

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) ruled Monday that work could resume on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, which opponents call "unnecessary and a boondoggle," the Charlotte Business Journal reported.

Work on the controversial pipeline halted last month after a federal appeals court vacated two permits required for the project to complete its 600 mile route from West Virginia, through Virginia, to North Carolina.

Keep reading... Show less
Business
zodebala / iStock

Investigators Find Slave Labor on Starbucks-Certified Brazil Coffee Plantation

By Daniela Penha and Roberto Cataldo, Translator

This story was produced via a co-publishing partnership between Mongabay and Repórter Brasil and can be read in Portuguese here.

At first sight, the Córrego das Almas farm in Piumhi, in rural Minas Gerais state, seems to be a model property. "No slave or forced labor is allowed," reads one of several signs that display international certifications—including one linked to the U.S. based company Starbucks corporation.

Keep reading... Show less
Politics
Oil and gas companies flare natural gas that cannot be processed or sold. Varodrig / Wikimedia Commons

Trump Lets Fracking Companies Release More Climate-Warming Methane

As expected, the U.S. Department of the Interior on Tuesday released a final rule that reverses Obama-era restrictions on methane emissions from oil and gas operations.

President Obama's 2016 methane waste rule, which never went into effect, required fossil fuel companies on tribal and public lands to reduce emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas that's about 86 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. It called on drilling operators to capture leaking and vented methane and to update their leak-detection equipment.

Keep reading... Show less
Health
Smoke from the Carr Fire in northern California, July 2018. Eric Coulter, Bureau of Land Management / Public Domain

U.S. Air Pollution Is 'Completely Outrageous'

By Juanita Constible

How do you think the U.S. stacks up against other countries for protecting its citizens from the health threats of air pollution?

That's the question Christiana Figueres, one of the world's leading climate warriors, posed at last week's Global Climate and Health Forum, an official side event of the Global Climate Action Summit. The answer, said Ms. Figueres, is "completely outrageous."

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Politics

Top EPA Watchdog Since 2010 Announces Departure

The head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) internal watchdog organization announced plans to leave for a job outside the federal government Tuesday, The Associated Press reported.

Arthur A. Elkins Jr., who has held the position of Inspector General since he was appointed by former president Barack Obama in 2010, will spend his last day at the agency Oct. 12, The Hill reported.

Keep reading... Show less
Popular
A man outside his flooded home in Lokoja in the Kogi state of Nigeria following heavy rains there. SODIQ ADELAKUN / AFP / Getty Images

100 Dead in Nigeria Following Severe Flooding

Nigeria declared a national disaster in four states Monday in response to deadly flooding that National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) spokesperson Sani Datti partly attributes to climate change, CNN reported.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Politics
L: Michael Coghlan / Flickr R: Coloured chest X-ray of a male patient showing evidence of a mesothelioma lung cancer, which is usually associated with exposure to asbestos. Zephyr / Science Photo Library / Getty Images

Report: 140 House Members Vote Against Chemical Safeguards Every Time

The Environmental Working Group Action Fund, the political arm of the Environmental Working Group (EWG), released a first-ever report that scores how each member of the U.S. House of Representatives voted on chemical policy and safety.

The scorecard shows that 140 House members voted against chemical safeguards every time, while 149 members consistently voted for chemical safety protections.

Keep reading... Show less
Food
grobery / CC BY SA 2.0 (Flickr)

What’s for Dinner? A Preview of the People, Process and Politics Updating Federal Dietary Guidelines

By Sarah Reinhardt

Months behind schedule, two federal departments have officially kicked off the process for writing the 2020-2025 iteration of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Updated and reissued every five years, these guidelines are the nation's most comprehensive and authoritative set of nutrition recommendations. And although the process is meant to be science-based and support population health—and has historically done so, with some notable exceptions—there are plenty of reasons to believe that the Trump administration is preparing to pitch a few curveballs.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

mail-copy

The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!