Marine biologist discovers trash inside dead whale shark’s stomach

Darrell Blatchley examined the whale shark. Photo: Blatchley’s Facebook page.
Darrell Blatchley examined the whale shark. Photo: Blatchley’s Facebook page.

This is heartbreaking.

A marine biologist said on Wednesday that he discovered several pieces of trash inside a whale shark that washed ashore in Tagum City, Davao del Norte. The biologist said that the poor mammal died due to garbage ingestion.

American Darrell Blatchley shared photos of the rubbish he found inside the animal on Facebook.

He wrote: “In the last 9 years I have done the [n]ecropsy of 60 whales and dolphins. Countless [t]urtles and a [m]egamouth [s]hark[s] and now a [w]hale [s]hark. The thing ALL BUT 12 had in common? Man caused their death. Fishing nets, speared, dynamite fishing, and [p]lastic ingestion. Nothing changes.”

One yellow plastic bag had the word “Philippines” imprinted on it. The photos also showed other plastic objects and a coin.

Blatchley said the 14-foot-long animal’s gills were blocked with plastics, which he had to remove. The creature was emaciated when he was found.

In an interview with ABS-CBN, Blatchley said he was sure that the trash caused the animal’s death. “The blocking of the gills and stomach would cause it to become weak and die,” he said.

He also told The Philippine Daily Inquirer that marine animals will continue to die if people do “not take steps to use discipline (sic) with our plastic garbage.”

In 2017, Greenpeace reported that the Philippines was the third worst ocean polluter in the world. The environmental organization said that this was due to Filipinos’ penchant for buying products in plastic sachets, which are cheaper compared to buying them in bulk.

Netizens weighed in on this sad discovery. Dexter Montero blamed the shipping industry for contributing a lot of waste.

Arlene Rivera said God must be sorry for creating human beings.

Another follower blamed the local government for the garbage problem.

Cesar Vega said educating people living in coastal communities is necessary to prevent marine creatures’ deaths.

How do you think the country’s garbage problem can be solved? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us @CoconutsManila.

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