By Amanda Froelich | True Activist
In recent years, a record number of whales have beached themselves. Befuddled scientists are still trying to make sense of the massive die-offs which have occurred all around the world. It is speculated that one of the reasons whales are beaching themselves is because of the increase in man-made materials and chemicals in the waters. The effects of ocean pollution, scientists say, “can lead to marine mammals being deformed, mentally impairing otherwise healthy whales and poisoning or causing death to marine mammals” as a result.
If this is the case, it certainly might explain why a 38-foot juvenile sperm whale recently washed ashore on Samal Island in the Philippines. According to a Bureau of Fisheries in the Phillipines, the approximately 7-year-old whale died from ingesting toxic materials. Among the contents of its stomach were plastic products, fish hooks, rope and steel wires, reports PhilStar.
Once the whale was discovered, a backhoe pulled its carcass to the shore of Barangay Miranda, Babak district. Further inspection by Darrell Dean Blatchley, a cetacean expert and proprietor of D’Bone Collector Museum, revealed that the cause of death was most likely internal, as there was no evidence of physical injuries.
Blatchley has documented the majority of whale and dolphin deaths in recent years and has discovered that most die due to humanity’s unsustainable habits. He said:
“Among the 53 whales and dolphins recovered in the last seven years in Davao Gulf, only four died due to natural causes. The rest of them died because of plastic waste, were caught by nets or killed through dynamite fishing or were unable to feed in the sea. A majority of them died because of humans.”
The sperm whale’s body was deboned for transportation and DNA samples were taken to be turned over to the BFAR for further study. Its skeleton will be donated to a museum in Davao for cleaning and processing, and the rest of its remains will be buried in a sanitary landfill.
“Then it will be sent back to Samal where it will be placed in an education center so people will have a view of the kind of animals they could encounter around Samal and the Davao Gulf,” Blatchley added.
This is just one more stunning example of why humans need to curb unsustainable habits and cut down on single-use materials, especially plastic. Every year, humans generate enough plastic to circle the globe four times! Furthermore, 80% of the trash that’s tossed into landfills eventually makes its way to the oceans. There, it breaks down into smaller pieces, contaminating the water and contributing to air pollution. As if that’s not bad enough, it is often ingested by wildlife and sometimes traps animals, such as turtles, fish, and birds, leading to their demise.
Like the whales found in Germany with their stomachs full of plastic and car parts, this whale’s death is symbolic of humanity’s utter disrespect for wildlife.
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