Mass Sperm Whale Stranding in Italy – Follow-up

A bit more information has come in on the sperm whales washed ashore on the Italian Gargano Peninsula a few weeks back.

The necropsies have revealed that the animals had ingested large amounts of plastic – probably mistaking it for the large squid that they usually consume. This finding has lead researchers to the speculation that they died because the plastic “strangled” their digestive systems.

This finding does not rule out the possibility that the whales were killed by seismic barotrauma as suggested by David Williams of the Deaf Whale Society, or to the possibility of some other instigating factor, with the plastic being found incidentally.

For those who have been following the plastic loading of the Pacific Gyre, this points to the obvious fact that all oceans are subject to the trashy habits of us humans – with very dire consequences to animals that are not habituated to discriminate plastic, tin cans, or other garbage from their usual fare.

If there were no other reason to avoid plastic packaging (or utensils, toys, apparel, or…) this one would serve.