Plastic bags found in pilot whale

  • Nation
  • Friday, 27 Mar 2015

KOTA KINABALU: Plastic bags appear to have killed a pilot whale that was found in a weakened state in shallow waters at Likas Bay here nearly two weeks ago.

The mammal died on Wednesday while being cared for at the Borneo Marine Research Unit Institute at the Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS).

A post-mortem on the marine mammal revealed that its intestinal tract was filled with plastic bags, a researcher said.

UMS officials are scheduled to announce the death of the whale and its causes today.

The researcher said it showed that the whale might have mistaken plastic bags floating in the sea for jellyfish, which is part of its diet.

This, he added, was the result of the widespread problem of plastic bags being thrown into the sea.

Other marine creatures such as turtles have also been reportedly found dead with plastic bags in their digestive system.

According to the Sea Turtle Conservancy, there is an estimated 100 million tonnes of plastic in the ocean with the debris covering an area as large as the United States and India combined.

Marine researchers had initially assumed that the whale was suffering from a chronic bacterial, virus or parasitic infection.

The whale died despite being treated with a cocktail of antibiotics, anti-inflammatory medication, appetite stimulants and multi-vitamins.

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