Twenty-nine sperm whales were found stranded on German shores around the North Sea, an area that is too shallow for the marine wildlife. However, scientists were deeply disturbed by what they found in the animals’ stomachs.
According to a press release from Wadden Sea National Park in Schleswig-Holstein, some of the whales had stomachs FULL of plastic debris, including a 13-meter-long fishing net, a 70 cm piece of plastic from a car and other pieces of plastic litter.
Some suggest that the animals thought the items were food, such as squid, which is their main staple. Others, however, believe that the travesty is largely a result of humanity’s shocking disregard for marine life, which has resulted in an overabundance of plastic in the oceans.
This isn’t the first time a sperm whale has been found dead with innards full of inedible contents. In 2011, a young whale was found floating dead off the Greek island of Mykonos. Its stomach was so distended, biologists thought the animal swallowed a giant squid. After its four stomachs were dissected, nearly 100 plastic bags and other pieces of debris were found.
As has been reported in the past, 80% of the plastic which is discarded on land ends up in the oceans, where it is consumed by wildlife or swirls for years in great garbage patches. The fact that mankind – a species with a smaller brain than a whale – is responsible for such a travesty is ironic and saddening.
Until humans learn the value of living sustainably while respecting all life forms, travesties such as this one will continue to take place.
Expand Your Consciousness / Crickey Conservation Society 2017.