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Young Sperm Whale Found Dead On Beach With Stomach 'Completely Full, Swollen With Plastic'

Young Sperm Whale Found Dead On Beach With Stomach 'Completely Full, Swollen With Plastic'

The expert who performed the necropsy on the sperm whale stated that she was so young her teeth hadn't even come out.

At a time when it is the need of the hour to keep the environment safe for animals, we, as humans, have failed constantly and miserably. We need to take preventive measures before its too late. And that is exactly what environmental campaigners have been urging people after a sperm whale was found dead with plastic in its stomach on Sicily, a popular Italian beach. As reported by CNN.

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Following the incident, Greenpeace Italia took to Facebook to post the images of the dead sperm whale and said the carcass belonged to a young animal, estimated to be around 7 years old. It was found washed up on the beach at Cefalu on Friday. 

"As you can see from the images we're sharing, a lot of plastic was found in its stomach," Greenpeace Italia's Giorgia Monti said in a statement. "A probe of the sperm whale's death has just started and we don't know yet if the animal died because of this, but we certainly can't pretend that nothing is happening. Five sperm whales beached on Italian coasts in the last five months."

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The experts had also carried out a necropsy on the whale at the beach. One among them was Carmelo Isgro, who works at the University of Messina's natural history museum. “They are strong images, but I want everyone to see and understand what we are doing to our sea and its inhabitants. I’m still shocked because her belly was completely full, swollen with plastic,” he said.

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"The plastic probably created a block that didn't let the food in. That's very likely to be the cause of death. We have not found signs that could indicate another possible reason," he added.

Isgro told CNN that he was shocked to discover “several kilograms worth of plastic” that he believes may have been what killed the sperm whale. The expert stated that the sperm whale was so young that her teeth hadn't even come out. Most sperm whales live up to 70-80 years. 

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And this is not the first time such an incident has happened in recent times. A dead gray whale had washed ashore in California's San Francisco Bay Area two weeks ago. The scientists are concerned as this is the ninth such incident this year. And it is only May.

"The death of nine gray whales in the San Francisco Bay Area this year is a cause for serious concern and reinforces the need to continue to perform and share the results of these type of investigations with key decision-makers," Dr. Padraig Duignan, Chief Research Pathologist at the center, was quoted as saying by CNN.



 

 

"It is critical for scientists to conduct in-depth necropsies to better understand why animals are dying," the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito said in a news release. "Whales and other marine mammals face numerous human-caused threats and solutions must be found to protect healthy and vulnerable species alike."

It is indeed upon us to ensure that the oceans remain plastic-free as plastic pollution poses a real threat to whales and dolphins. We need to take preventive measures to keep them safe before it is too late. 

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