Whale dies after eating 80 plastic bags

James Marshall
June 6, 2018

A pilot whale found on May 25 in a canal in Thailand near the Malaysian border died Friday night.

Marine officials in Thailand say about 17 pounds of plastic were removed from the stomach of a dead whale that they tried desperately to save.

The mammal vomited up to five plastic bags during the four-day period when the rescuers battled to revive its health.

The plastic bags made it extremely hard for the whale to digest anything of nutritional value, said Thon Thamrongnawasawat, a marine biologist, and Lecturer at Kasetsart University.

Per the Post, a 2014 study concluded at least five trillion pieces of trash were in the world's oceans, with 270,000 tons of large and small plastic debris near the surface. "The team of veterinarians and staff have mobilized to help keep the medicine and support to full force", Thailand's Department of Marine and Coastal Resources wrote on its Facebook page. Photos posted by the group reveal tens of plastic bags that remained undigested throughout the whale's body.

A post mortem found another 80 bags and other plastic items weighing 8kg in the whale's stomach. While pilot whales generally eat squid, the department said it believed the whale mistook the plastic litter for food. The American Cetacean Society noted that pilot whales primarily eat squid but also feed on octopus, cuttlefish, and herring.

According to another report by the Nation, a 2015 study by the Ocean Conservancy and the McKinsey Centre for Business and Environment found that Thailand was the world's "sixth worst offender for dumping plastics into the sea".

Thai marine biologist Thon Thamrongnawasawat told Agence France-Presse that the plastic stopped the whale from digesting food.

These plastic wastes come from synthetic fibers in clothing, tire dust, paints, secondary microplastics, synthetic fibers in the air, and microbeads.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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