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Pilot Whale Dies In Southern Thailand After Swallowing Pounds Of Plastic

AASTHA SINGAL | 0
1984
| June 4 , 2018 , 19:28 IST

A pilot whale died last week in southern Thailand after swallowing more than 80 plastic bags and other debris. According to officials from Thailand’s Department of Marine and Coastal Resources, the distressed whale was found last Monday a canal in southern Thailand near the border with Malaysia.

The barely breathing whale was found by a veterinary team which attempted to “stabilize its illness,” but it died Friday after vomiting five plastic bags. The autopsy exhumed additional 8 kg (more than 17 lb) of plastic rubbish from the whale’s stomach.

A theory by department’s chief suggests that the whale had mistaken the plastic bags for food and consumed them which left her "sick and unable to hunt for food." The marine biologist Thon Thamrongnawasawat said that the bags made it impossible for the whale to eat any nutritional food.

"If you have 80 plastic bags in your stomach, you die," he said. Having too much plastic in her stomach led to it starving to death. "Pilot whales primarily eat squid but are also known to hunt octopus, cuttlefish and small fish when squid prove elusive," the American Cetacean Society said.

With 8 million tonnes of plastic waste ending up in oceans every year all around the globe, Thailand is one of the largest consumers of plastic bags which kills hundreds of marine creatures off its coasts every year. The Thai government is planning to introduce biodegradable alternatives to cut down on plastic waste.