A recently washed ashore sperm whales on the coast of Murcia in southern Spain was killed by gastric shock caused by ingesting 64 lbs (29 kilos) of plastic waste, according to authorities.
An autopsy of the 33 foot (10 meters) long whale revealed that the stomach and intestines of the young sperm whale were found with plastic bags, raffia sacks, and fishing nets and ropes inside.
The disturbing discovery has led the Murcia regional government to a launch a campaign against the dumping of plastic waste in the ocean. Although it is step forward in the fight against pollution, cities and countries around the world are still dumping plastic in the ocean by the tons and it already is too late for this sperm whale and millions of other creatures.
Consuelo Rosauro, the director-general for the natural environment in the Murcian government, said plastic waste in the ocean had become one of the biggest threats to marine life around the the world in the last decade.
“Many animals get trapped in the rubbish or ingest great quantities of plastic which end up causing their death,” she said.
An endangered species, the sperm whale eats mostly squid and its expected lifespan is similar to humans at around 70 years old.
Experts at Murcia’s El Valle Wildlife Rescue Centre, which carried out the autopsy on the young whale, said that it had been unable to either digest or expel the plastics in its system, and as a result had suffered a fatal case of peritonitis.