Whale dies after 80 plastic bags found crammed in its stomach

Click to play video: 'Whale dies in Thailand after swallowing 80 plastic bags'
Whale dies in Thailand after swallowing 80 plastic bags
ABOVE: Whale dies in Thailand after swallowing 80 plastic bags – Jun 3, 2018

A whale has died in southern Thailand after swallowing more than 80 plastic bags, marine experts said.

The male pilot whale was found barely alive on May 28 in a canal in the province of Songkhla, near the border with Malaysia, and received treatment from a team of veterinarians.

Photos posted on the Facebook page for ThaiWhales, a local conservation group, showed volunteers trying to help the sick whale, shading it with an umbrella and attempting to give it medicine and fluids.

Volunteers and veterinarians worked for several days trying to save the mammal. But on June 1, the whale vomited five plastic bags and later died, the Marine and Coastal Resources Department said on its website.

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An autopsy found 80 bags and other plastic items, weighing around 17 lbs lodged in the whale’s stomach, which made it impossible for the mammal to eat food, marine experts said.

Jatuporn Buruspat, head of the department, said the whale probably thought the floating plastic bags were food.

A whale found to have swallowed up to 80 plastic bags is seen in Songkhla, Thailand, in this still image from a June 1, 2018 video footage by Thailand’s Department of Marine and Coastal Resources. REUTERS

Pilot whales mainly feed on squid, but are known to eat octopus and small fish when squid are not available, according to the American Cetacean Society, a whale conservation group.

Jatuporn said his department planned to raise public awareness of the problem on World Oceans Day on June 8.

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Globally, eight million tonnes of plastic – bottles, packaging and other waste – are dumped into the ocean every year, killing marine life and entering the human food chain, the United Nations Environment Programme said in December.

WATCH: Oceans may have more plastic than fish by 2050

Click to play video: 'Oceans may have more plastic than fish by 2050: report'
Oceans may have more plastic than fish by 2050: report

— With files from Reuters

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