When a juvenile male whale’s carcass washed up on the shore, scientists discovered signs that the whale was “emaciated” and suffering from “dehydration.” They also determine the young whale had been “vomiting blood before it died.” After they performed a necropsy, they found about 88 pounds of plastic bags in its stomach.
The juvenile male Cuvier’s beaked whale washed up on the shore in Mabini, Compostela Valley in the Philippines.
Darrell Blatchley – a marine biologist, environmentalist, and the president and founder of D’Bone Collector Museum – was notified on Friday about the presence of the carcass.
Blatchley and his team transported the deceased whale to the company’s facility, located in Davao, the Philippines, and performed the necropsy.
After investigating, according to a report by CNN, Blatchley and his team determined that the whale died from ingesting plastic.
“I was not prepared for the amount of plastic,” said Blatchley. “Roughly 40 kilos of rice sacks, grocery bags, banana plantation bags, and general plastic bags. Sixteen rice sacks in total.”
Blatchley went on to note that the presence of so many bags led some of them to start to calcify.
Since the whale had so much plastic in its stomach, it was unable to eat properly. Whales get the water they need from the food they eat and not the ocean, so the plastic caused it to die of “dehydration and starvation.”
In a statement, the D’Bone Collector Museum said that this was the largest quantity of plastic they had ever discovered in the stomach of a whale, labeling the incident “disgusting.”
The museum reached out to local governments and called on them to take action, particularly against individuals and companies who “continue to treat waterways and oceans as dumpsters.”
World Animal Protection campaigner Peter Kemple Hardy described the event as a “tragic reminder” of the clear need to “work together towards global solutions” as a means of preventing plastic pollution from impacting the environment.
“Hundreds of thousands of whales, dolphins, seals, and turtles are killed by ocean plastic pollution every year, including single-use plastics and abandoned plastic gear from the fishing industry,” said Hardy.