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Beached whale had plastic trash, fish nets in stomach

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By Yas D. Ocampo

Davao City – An initial check conducted by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) here reportedly revealed that the sperm whale, which was found beached in front of a resort in Babak District in the Island Garden City of Samal Saturday, had large amounts of plastic trash, fishing nets, hooks and even a piece of coco lumber in its stomach.

Beachgoers and residents gather around a beached whale in Babak, Samal on Saturday, December 17, 2016. The whale was alive Friday night, but died Saturday (Contributed photo by Dean Ortiz) | mb.com.ph

MB file- Beachgoers and residents gather around a beached whale in Babak, Samal on Saturday, December 17, 2016. The whale was alive Friday night, but died Saturday (Contributed photo by Dean Ortiz) | Manila Bulletin

According to BFAR Region 11 Director Fatima Idris, the debris were found inside the stomach of the 37-foot whale as the agency conducted a necropsy Sunday. She said the whale was a juvenile male.

Cetacean expert Darrel Blatchley had earlier suspected that the whale could have either choked on plastic trash or was mortally wounded by propellers of vessels plying the Davao Gulf.

News of the whale washing up the beach on a resort in Samal broke out late Saturday afternoon.

BFAR has a marine mammal stranding network which is always on the look-out for whales that could be stranded in the Davao Gulf.

Netizens shared video clips of local officials using a backhoe to drag the carcass of the whale to shore.

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  • It’s estimated that up to 90% of seabirds have plastic in their stomachs, whales and birds cannot pass the plastic they swallow,, so they end up starving to death with full stomachs or die or horrible impaction issues. Meanwhile, we can make biodegradable plastics, we just dont for the same reason we are destroying so much of the planet: market forces.

    • Dörte Planert

      Biodegradable plastic only biodegrades in the right conditions, which include heat, humidity and microbes. That is not the case in landfill and not in the ocean. If it only photodegrades, it will fall apart into smaller and smaller particles, which are even more dangerous for animals mistaken as food/plankton and seeps into our groundwater. Biodegradable plastic can degrade within a few months, but could also take 10 years.

  • Lisa614

    We seem to forget, when we kill everything on the planet, that includes us.