Endangered Whale Washes Ashore in Spain with 64 Pounds of Plastic and Other Debris in its StomachMarie Donlon | April 12, 2018
In yet another example of how overwhelmed our oceans are with plastic waste, a young sperm whale recently washed ashore in Murcia, Spain, weighed down with 64 pounds of plastic and other debris in its stomach and intestines.
Wanting to determine cause of death, scientists examined the sperm whale, which is an endangered species, and found pieces of net, ropes and plastic waste among other debris. The accumulation of waste in the whale's stomach could not be digested, resulting in an abdominal infection (called peritonitis) that caused the whale's stomach to rupture.
Spurred by the findings, officials in Murcia, Spain, are embarking on a campaign to clean up its beaches.
"The presence of plastic in the ocean and oceans is one of the greatest threats to the conservation of wildlife throughout the world, as many animals are trapped in the trash or ingest large quantities of plastics that end up causing their death," Murcia's general director of environment, Consuelo Rosauro said in a statement.