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The necropsy of the sperm whale that died in February near Cabo de Palos shows that the 29kg of plastic ingested caused peritonitis that caused its death.
On February 27, a young sperm whale almost 10 meters long and 6.5 tons in weight was found dead in the area of Cabo de Palos, Murcia, whose necropsy revealed that the cetacean had ingested 29 kilos of marine litter, among the that garbage bags, raffia sacks, pieces of nets and even a drum were found.
The experts of the El Valle Wildlife Recovery Center believe that this material could have caused his death due to peritonitis or an impaction of the digestive system due to the impossibility of expelling it.
The Community of Murcia has activated an awareness campaign focused on reducing the consumption of plastics and avoiding the abandonment of garbage in the natural marine environment of the Region of Murcia in collaboration with the European Environment Association and the co-financing of European funds Feder.
#MedioAmbiente launches a # campaign to raise awareness about the danger of #marine litter for #Fauna Example: The necropsy of a stranded #Sperm whale 🐋 detected 29 kg of garbage in its digestive system aparato # StopBasurasMarinas # Awareness ♻️ + inf: https: / /t.co/mLjhNreLlx pic.twitter.com/dqejUXFkWS
- EspaciosNaturalesMur (@EspNaturalesMur) April 4, 2018
The Minister of the Environment, Javier Celdrán, recently asked for a reflection on the environmental damage of the dumping of plastics into the sea after the death of the sperm whale.
The sperm whale
The sperm whale is the largest odontocete cetacean that exists, it feeds almost exclusively on squid and it is a species classified as vulnerable according to the Royal Decree for the development of the List of Wild Species in the Special Protection Regime and the Spanish Catalog of Threatened Species .
The specimen that Celdrán was referring to was found dead at the end of February in Cabo de Palos and at the warning, the protocol for the stranding of cetaceans and sea turtles in the Region was activated.
Plastic pollution is relatively recent on the planet (most of these compounds began to be manufactured in the last century), but it is estimated that between 4.8 and 12.7 million tons reach the sea each year (“Science”, 2015), making the oceans the largest dumping ground for this type of garbage.
Whales and sea turtles that get sick and die from ingesting plastics that they thought were jellyfish and clog their digestive ducts, sea birds that get trapped in them, fish that retain these types of compounds in their stomach, beaches where sand mixes with thousands of microfragments… These are some of the effects of the “plastic tide” that affects all oceans.