A pregnant sperm whale has been found dead with 22 kilograms of plastic in its stomach, prompting a World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) warning over the dangers of plastic waste in the sea. The garbage recovered from the eight-meter whale’s stomach included a corrugated tube for electrical works, plastic plates, shopping bags, tangled fishing lines and a washing detergent package with its bar code still legible, the environmental group said.
The whale last week beached off the Italian northern coast of Sardinia, within the vast Pelagos marine sanctuary that was created as a haven for dolphins, whales and other sea life. “It is the first time we have been confronted with an animal with such a huge quantity of garbage,” Cinzia Centelegghe, a biologist with the University of Padova, told the Turin daily La Stampa.
The exam also determined the whale was carrying a fetus that had died and was in an advance state of decomposition. Experts said the mother whale had been unable to digest calamari due to the huge amount of plastic it had ingested, filling two-thirds of its stomach.
WWF said plastic is one of the greatest threats to marine life and has killed at least five other whales that had ingested large amounts of it over the last two years from Europe to Asia