A young sperm whale that died after washing ashore in Scotland had a massive 220-pound ball of trash in its stomach that was made up of various types of debris ranging from fishing nets to gloves and different types of plastic litter.
The massive 45-foot long whale had been alive when it was found stranded on Seilebost Beach on the Isle of Harris in the Outer Hebrides, but died after being beached, according to Dan Parry, who runs the Facebook page “Luskentyre Beach – Isle of Harris,” which is devoted to preventing litter from inundating local coastlines.
A post to the page detailed the horrific state of the whale during its final days, explaining that it “starved to death due to having a stomach full of discarded / accidentally lost fishing nets and debris. The intestines had virtually nothing in them as it could no longer process food.”
The Scottish Marine Animal Stranding Scheme (SMASS), an organization that maintains a comprehensive database on stranded marine animals such as whales, turtles, seals, and other marine life in the region, had made the horrible discovery during a necropsy, according to a post on its Facebook page. The SMASS said:
In this whale’s stomach was approximately 100kg of marine debris- a whole range of plastic including sections of net, bundles of rope, plastic cups, bags, gloves, packing straps and tubing. All this material was in a huge ball in the stomach and some of it it looked like it had been there for some time.
This amount of plastic in the stomach is nonetheless horrific, must have compromised digestion, and serves to demonstrate, yet again, the hazards that marine litter and lost or discarded fishing gear can cause to marine life.
The whale was so massive that it could not be removed from the beach, so instead, the whale was buried on the beach.
This sad story is yet another reminder of how polluted our ocean waters are. Do the planet and the earth’s wildlife a favor, DO NOT LITTER. Recycle as much as you possibly can and if you must dispose of trash, do it properly to ensure that it does not end up in our ocean’s.