02 December 2019 14:35
Sperm whale found dead with 100kg ball of litter inside its stomach in Outer Hebrides A 100kg (220lb) "litter ball" has been discovered inside the stomach of a sperm whale which stranded and died on the Isle of Harris in the Outer Hebrides. A whole range of plastics, including netting, bundles of rope, cups, bags, gloves, packing straps and tubing were discovered inside it, with experts claiming the items had been there for some time. Image: A section of net found inside the sperm whale's stomach. The Scottish Marine Animal Stranding Scheme (SMASS) says it is investigating why the animal - which it claims "wasn't in particularly poor condition" - ended up with so much pollution inside it. Image: A necropsy found ropes and other marine debris inside the animal's stomach.
In a post on its Facebook page, it added: "Whilst it is certainly plausible that this amount of debris was a factor in its live stranding, we actually couldn't find evidence that this had impacted or obstructed the intestines. "This amount of plastic in the stomach is nonetheless horrific, must have compromised digestion, and serves to demonstrate, yet again, the hazards that marine litter and lost or discarded fishing gear can cause to marine life. Image: The whale became stranded on Seilebost beach. SMASS has thanked members of the coastguard and the Western Isles council disposal team who helped with the necropsy and then bury the whale, which had to be done on site, as there was "no option to move a 20 tonne animal elsewhere". Commenting on its Facebook post, one person called the death "absolutely tragic", adding: "Humans have an awful lot to answer for." Image: Experts claim the items had been inside the animal for some time.
Starved to death due to having a stomach full of discarded/accidentally lost fishing nets and debris. And the group underlined the extent of the problem by highlighting how even more discarded fishing equipment was found on the beach, just a day after the whale tragedy. It said: "After seeing the fishing debris pulled from the whale's stomach yesterday, we headed to the beach today to dig out another massive tangle of fishing related rope and net that we had spotted right up at high tide mark. "Ocean plastic debris washes up on a daily basis along the beautiful golden sands of Luskentyre. A 26-TON whale washed up on a Scottish beach last week and died with 100kg of plastic, ropes and fishing nets in its stomach. The juvenile sperm whale came ashore on Seilebost Beach on the Isle of Harris on Thursday morning. 7 A 26-ton sperm whale washed up and died on a beach on the Isle of Harris Credit: Dan Parry The 14-metre sea giant died shortly after beaching and had around huge amounts of marine debris in its stomach. A necropsy was performed on the whale on Saturday by the Scottish Marine Animal Strandings Scheme. 7 The 14-metre whale was cut open by a team of marine animal experts on Saturday Credit: Dan Parry 7 The SMASS team cut open the whale's stomach Credit: Scottish Marine Animal Strandings Scheme As the whale's blubber was cut away, coils of rope and sections of fishing nets were pulled from its stomach. The sperm whale's tragic beaching may have been brought on by the debris - but the SMASS team were unable to confirm this as the cause of death. 7 Around 100kg of ocean debris was found in the cetacean's stomach Credit: Dan Parry 7 This included ropes, fishing nets and plastic - and may have had an impact on the whale's death Credit: Scottish Marine Animal Strandings Scheme 7 Blood lined the stunning beach after the necropsy - with the whale being buried afterwards Credit: Dan Parry The plastic found in the giant's stomach was from both land and fishing sectors - and could have been swallowed anywhere in the Atlantic Ocean. Dan Parry, who runs the Luskentyre Beach Facebook page, shared photos from the necropsy online. He said: "Every day when we walk along the beach, we pick up debris, but sadly we rarely see anyone else picking anything up. Seilebost beach is part of the bay at Luskentyre on the Isle of Harris.