Featured Image Credit: Dean Ortiz
By Sarah Sharkey
A sperm whale was recently beached on the island of Samal. The whale was unable to be saved due to its massive size and weak health. The whale found on Samal was a juvenile male, so he was not quite as large as he could have been but his loss is heartbreaking. Darrel Baltchley, a cetacean expert, suspected that the whale probably choked on plastic trash and had been unable to recover. His suspicions unfortunately proved true. An autopsy report revealed that there was a large amount of plastic debris and fishing nets in its stomach.
This tragedy should serve as a wakeup call to everyone that plastic trash in the ocean really has a negative effect on all of the animals in it. Even a creature as massive as a sperm whale can have its health affected to the point of death by trash in the ocean. Sperm whales are one of the largest toothed whales and can reach a length of 67 feet. The large size of their brain suggests that they are extremely smart as well, but the pervasive presence of plastic in the ocean is still a threat to these magnificent creatures.
With this in mind, we should all make an effect to reduce our plastic consumption in this New Year. Some simple ways to do this include bringing your own (non-plastic) shopping bag to the grocery store, carrying a reusable water bottle and avoiding disposable straws and cutlery.