A Scottish organization is warning about the threat of plastic waste to marine life after a large mass of debris was found in the stomach of a dead juvenile sperm whale.
The whale, which washed ashore on Seilebost beach in Scotland, consumed about 220 pounds of plastic waste before its death, according to a Facebook post from the Scottish Marine Animal Stranding Scheme (SMASS) on Sunday.
“This amount of plastic in the stomach is nonetheless horrific, must have compromised digestion, and serves to demonstrate, yet again, the hazards that marine litter and lost or discarded fishing gear can cause to marine life,” SMASS officials wrote.
“This whale had debris in its stomach which seemed to have originated from both the land and fishing sectors, and could have been swallowed at any point between Norway and the Azores. We are looking in more detail to see if we can work out quite why this animal ended up with so much of it in its stomach,” the post continued.
The animal was reportedly buried on the beach with assistance from local officials and the coast guard, according to CNN.
More whales have been found with large amounts of plastic waste in their stomachs after washing ashore in recent years, with researchers convinced that it is a contributing factor to the animals’ deaths.