A dehydrated and extremely emaciated juvenile whale spotted in waters off the coast of the Philippines on Saturday morning died of starvation after consuming more than 88 pounds of plastic trash. The poor creature was vomiting blood shortly before it died.
Darrell Blatchley, a marine mammal expert and the curator at the D’Bone Collector Museum in Davao City, brought the whale to his lab to open it up for a necropsy. There he found a shocking 88 pounds of plastic waste jammed into its belly.
“Plastic was just bursting out of its stomach,” he said. “We pulled out the first bag, then the second. By the time we hit 16 rice sacks—on top of the plastic bags, and the snack bags, and big tangles of nylon ropes, you’re like—seriously?”
The plastic trash was so densely packed into the dead whale’s stomach that it felt as “hard and compacted as a baseball,” he said, only many times bigger—more like two dense basketballs of trash, about eight percent of the juvenile beaked whale’s total weight. Some of it had been in the stomach so long it had started to calcify.