Dead Sperm Whale Found With 29kgs of Plastic in Stomach

murcia whale beach

The sperm whale was washed ashore at Cabo de Palas, Murcia (Photo:

A dead sperm whale washed ashore off the coast of Spain, was killed by plastic pollution, according to autopsy reports.

The young male was discovered on Cabo de Palas beach in Murcia, southern Spain, in February. The official report concluded that the cause of death was peritonitis, an inflammation of the stomach lining, brought about by the presence of plastic waste that the whale had ingested.

The team of scientists from El Valle Wildlife Recovery Center, who performed the post-mortem examination, uncovered plastic bags, pieces of ropes and nets, and even an entire a jerry can that the whale had swallowed, eerily reminiscent of the heart-breaking sight of a sperm whale trying to eat a plastic bucket in the recent BBC Blue Planet II series.

In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, Consuelo Rosauro, the Murcian director-general for the natural environment, said: 'The presence of plastics in seas and oceans is one of the greatest threats to the conservation of wildlife throughout the world, since many animals are trapped in the trash or ingest large amounts of plastics that end up causing their death.'

murcia whale contents

Some of the contents of the whale's stomach, which aslo included fishing nets and a jerry can (Photo:

As a result of the 10m-long animal's death, the Murcian regional government has launched a campaign to raise the issue of plastic pollution and its impact on wildlife within the local communities. 'The region of Murcia is no stranger to this problem,' said Rosauro, 'which we must tackle through clean-up actions and, above all, citizen awareness.'

Initiatives in recent years to reduce the amount of plastic waste being deposited into the world's oceans have had an observable impact, according to a recent report from the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas). The UK's 5p plastic bag charge has reduced consumption of single-use bags by around 80 per cent, leading to a decline in their presence in UK waters.

As the report sadly notes, however, 'despite the reduction in the number of plastic bags recorded in an analysis of scientific surveys, the overall amount of litter has been maintained by an increasing amount of other plastic items, including fishing debris.'






Love diving? You'll love these. Sign up today to immediately download our unique FREE gifts -

AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 WRECKS - DIVE's 70-page, beautifully illustrated, colour guide to the world’s best wrecks

SCUBA STORIES - DIVE's collection f real life stories where divers, who have got themselves into perilous situations, describe how they reacted and what actions they took to ensure they lived to tell the tale

PACIFICHighlights of the Pacific - Dancing mantas in Hawaii • The Best Diving in the World, Galápagos, Cocos, Malpelo & Socorro • Mass Spawning Events in Palau

New Upright Gift Banners 300 x 600 px

Sidebar SUBSCRIBE spring 21 large2

Destinations Spotlight

Need inspiration for your next dive trip? Try one of our featured destinations from DIVE's travel partners.

sidebar philippines sidebar bahamas sidebar mexico sidebar fiji sidebar st helena 2020 Sidebar Egypt sidebar banner sabah sidebar banner belize sidebar banner south africa

DIVE Partners

sidebar banner egypt new ceningan divers ad 300x100 LH 300 min giphy subex Wakatobi Siladen Aggressor Fisheye Dive Worldwide gozo banner Arenui

Read DIVE magazine

DIVE magazine is available to read on many devices. Simply click one one of the options below

PCMac final
Apple finalAndroid final

Like what you see?

Join us on social and keep updated daily...