Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Whale Shark Found Dead, Plastic Spoon Stuck in Digestive System

Animals
Whale Shark Found Dead, Plastic Spoon Stuck in Digestive System
Dead whale shark buried at Pamban South Beach in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. @TOIChennai

An 18-foot long whale shark washed up dead on Pamban South Beach in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu on Tuesday.

"The cause of death is found to be heavy internal injuries it has suffered when it either hit a rock or a big vessel," local wildlife ranger S Sathish told the Times of India.


Whale sharks are considered "endangered" under the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. Its global population has shrank more than 50 percent over the last 75 years. Its greatest current threats include fisheries catches, bycatch in nets and vessel strikes, according to the IUCN.

Whale sharks are the the biggest fish and shark of the seas. The gentle giants are filter feeders that dine on plankton with its massively wide mouth.

But during a necropsy, wildlife officials also uncovered a plastic spoon stuck in the dead shark's digestive system. The plastic spoon was likely sucked into the animal's digestive system while it was eating, the officials explained.

"It is a stark revelation how plastic waste is getting into the marine eco-system. The marine species can't distinguish between a floating plastic and prey. We should avoid dumping plastic waste inside sea," Sathish added.

It's clear from this story and many others that plastic trash is a major threat to aquatic life. Australian scientists published a paper in July suggesting that plastic pollution is spread throughout the marine environment. An of-citied 2016 study also found that by 2050 there will be more plastic in our oceans than fish if our current consumption pattern continues.

The dead whale shark was buried on Pamban beach on Tuesday.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Atlantic puffins courting at Maine Coastal Island National Wildlife Refuge in 2009. USFWS / Flickr

When Europeans first arrived in North America, Atlantic puffins were common on islands in the Gulf of Maine. But hunters killed many of the birds for food or for feathers to adorn ladies' hats. By the 1800s, the population in Maine had plummeted.

Read More Show Less
Rescue workers dig through the rubble following a gas explosion in Baltimore, Maryland on Aug. 10, 2020. J. Countess / Getty Images

A "major" natural gas explosion killed two people and seriously injured at least seven in Baltimore, Maryland Monday morning.

Read More Show Less
The recalled list includes red, yellow, white and sweet yellow onions, which may be tainted with salmonella. Pxhere

Nearly 900 people across the U.S. and Canada have been sickened by salmonella linked to onions distributed by Thomson International, the The New York Times reported.

Read More Show Less
Methane flares at a fracking site near a home in Colorado on Oct. 25, 2014. WildEarth Guardians / Flickr

In the coming days, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is expected to use its power to roll back yet another Obama-era environmental protection meant to curb air pollution and slow the climate crisis.

Read More Show Less
Researchers on the ICESCAPE mission, funded by NASA, examine melt ponds and their surrounding ice in 2011 to see how changing conditions in the Arctic affect the biological and chemical makeup of the ocean. NASA / Flickr

By Alex Kirby

The temperature of the Arctic matters to the entire world: it helps to keep the global climate fairly cool. Scientists now say that by 2035 there could be an end to Arctic sea ice.

Read More Show Less
President Vladimir Putin is seen enjoying the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Pascal Le Segretain / Getty Images

Russia's Health Ministry has given regulatory approval for the world's first COVID-19 vaccine after less than two months of human testing, President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday.

Read More Show Less

Trending

A John Deere agricultural tractor sits under a collapsed building following a derecho storm on Aug. 10, 2020 near Franklin Grove, Illinois. Daniel Acker / Getty Images

A powerful series of thunderstorms roared across the Midwest on Monday, downing trees, damaging structures and knocking out power to more than a million people.

Read More Show Less