They find 16 kilos of plastic in the stomach of a cetacean

05/14/2021 at 7:27 PM CEST

Food packaging, potato chip and pasta packets, shopping bags & mldr; This is the sad inventory discovered in the stomach of a beakedZiphius curvirostris that was found stranded a few days ago on a beach in the French Landes (New Aquitaine), in the south-west of the country.

After finding the body on the beach and with the help of members of the Basque-French association Itsas Arima, which studies marine mammals, they carried out an autopsy on the animal, which left everyone present with their mouths open at what they found.

“We thought that the animal had eaten a lot of food. But when we open, we find plastic in pretty incredible quantities. There were 16 kilos of plastic, exclusively plastic, with just a few squid beaks, ”said Pascal Ducasse, a volunteer at the Pelagis Marine Mammal Observatory.

“This is the first time I’ve seen this in seven years in business,” added Ducasse.

“They were mainly plastic bags, but we also managed to identify packages of potato chips, pasta bags, packaging from various stores and filter packages & rdquor ;, reported the Itsas Arima association, which participated in the operation and disclosed the facts on social media. .

The residues found in the stomach of this specimen show where the cookie or pasta wrappers can end up that many citizens so carelessly abandon anywhere.

The analyzes also showed that the animal suffered from parasitic kidney disease. Because of this, the cetacean could no longer dive to great depths, as they usually do.

Probably, the large ingestion of plastic hastened his death, given that such large amounts of this material make it difficult for the body to assimilate food and cause significant alterations in the body.

In fact, according to the observatory, “this mass of plastic probably accelerated the death of the cetacean & rdquor ;.

«These wastes line the walls of the stomach and intestines., which can cause blockages and prevent nutrients from entering the blood, ”added members of the Pelagis observatory.

“When we talk about plastic pollution and its impact on cetaceans, we usually say that cetaceans are indirectly impacted, that is, they eat prey that, in turn, have ingested plastic, by bioaccumulation. But in this case, how to explain that there was so much plastic in his stomach and that he ingested it directly? We were able to verify that the animal was thin and had a significant parasitic disease that weakened it, which probably prevented it from continuing to eat normally, “explained the Basque-French association Itsas Arima.

Although normally the beaked whale is an “active hunter & rdquor; which dives to a depth of 1,000 m to feed, particularly squid, this female “should have stayed on the surface and swallowed everything she found & rdquor;, explained Willy Dabin, from the French cetacean stranding network .

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