100kg of rubbish found in a beached whales stomach

Date:4 December 2019 Author: Kyro Mitchell Tags:, , ,


When a male juvenile whale washed ashore on Scotland’s Luskentyre Beach on the Isle of Harris at the end of November, the Scottish Marine Animal Stranding Scheme (SMASS) found a ghastly surprise. The beached whale had around 100Kg (220lbs) of rubbish festering in its stomach.

Image: SMASS facebook

According to SMASS, the whale was 13 meters in length (45 feet) and died a short time after becoming stranded on the beach. “By the time we got to it, [it] had been dead for 48 hours and pretty much most of the guts blew out of the side when we stuck a knife in it,” a SMASS representative wrote.

In a Facebook post by SMASS- fishing nets, rope bundles, and an assortment of plastic garbage was found tightly packed together in the whale’s stomach, forming a 100kg rubbish ball in the 20-ton animal. According to the post, “some of it looked like it had been there for some time”

Image: SMASS facebook

“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.” a SMASS spokesperson said.

Experts believe the majority of waste found in the whale’s stomach could have been swallowed anywhere between Norway and Azures, though it’s virtually impossible to accurately trace where the rubbish originally came from.

Image: SMASS facebook

Along with this most recent incident of a beached whale, SMASS figures suggest that dolphin strandings are on the rise. In 2009 there were 204 reports of dolphin strandings, but that number increased to an astonishing 930 in 2018.

Feature image:Image: SMASS facebook

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