20 sperm whales were found washed up on the shores around the North Sea. An area that is usually too shallow for marine wildlife.
Only recently were details of the animals’ necropsy released, an when it was, scientists were deeply disturbed by their findings.
According to a press release out of The Wadden Sea National Park in Schleswig-Holstein, many of the whales that were washed ashore had stomachs completely full of plastic debris, including things like a 13 meter long fishing net, a 70 cm piece of plastic from a car and countless other type of plastic litter we’ve thrown into the oceans over the years.
The deaths of these whales are a symbol for just how terrible we as humanity are treating our environment and the other lives that live on this planet with us.
Some have suggested that the animals most likely thought the items were food, such as squid, which is one of their main staple foods.
Robert Habeck, the environment minister for the state of Schleswig-Holstein says:
“These findings show us the results of our plastic-oriented society. Animals inadvertently consume plastic and plastic waste, which causes them to suffer, and at worst, causes them to starve with full stomachs.”
Nicola Hodgkins of Whale and Dolphin Conservation agreed that statement, also adding:
“Although the large pieces will cause obvious problems and block the gut, we shouldn’t dismiss the smaller bits that could cause a more chronic problem for all species of cetacean – not just those who suction feed.”
The sad thing is, this is hardly the first time that sperm whale have been found washed up on beaches with stomachs full of inedible human waste.
In 2011 a whale was found floating dead off the Gree Island of Mykonos.
It’s stomach was so incredibly swollen that the biologist who found him though the whale must have eaten a giant squid.
However, when they dissected it’s four stomachs, nearly 100 plastic bags and other pieces of debris were found within it.
Now it should be stated that these sperm whales cause of death was not the plastic in their stomachs per-say.
According to National Geographic, the cause of death is thought to be heart failure.
This could’ve been a result of these whales mistakenly swimming into the shallow waters in the North Sea, in search of squid most likely. As a result of getting caught up in the North sea they were not able to support their body weight in the shallow water. Leading to their internal organs collapsing under all the pressure.
But regardless of the plastic not being the main cause of their death, it’s still a tragic and horrible sight to see, that should really make all of us as a human race to look at ourselves in the face and wonder what we are doing to this planet.
It’s been reported in the past that 80% of the plastic which gets discarded on land ends up in the ocean, left there for wild life to consume them or get caught up in tides making giant garbage patches.
The fact that human kind has done so much to negatively effect our world around us is a travesty to the incredible brains and states of awareness/consciousness we have the capacity for.
This isn’t something we can continue to shrug off as someone else’s problem. This is all our problem,
Until humanity learns the value of a sustainable way of life with all creatures around us, atrocities like this will continue to happen
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