By Antonio Colina IV
DAVAO CITY – At least 40 kilos of assorted plastic materials were recovered from the stomach of a juvenile Cuvier’s beaked whale that died at around 10:30 a.m. last March 16, a day after beaching in Barangay Cadunan, Mabini town in Compostela Valley province, D’ Bone Collector Museum Inc. president and environmentalist Darrel Blatchley said on Sunday.
The American marine biologist, in his Facebook post, revealed the 15.4-foot whale died from ingesting several kilos of ocean plastic wastes, which were “the most plastic we have ever seen in a whale,” including 16 sacks, four bags similar to the one used in banana plantations, and multiple shopping bags.
He said a full list of the plastics found in the whale’s stomach will be itemized in the coming days.
But a result of the necropsy examination, conducted by Blatchley and Dr. Elaine Vera Belvis of BFAR-Fishery Management Regulatory and Enforcement Division, showed “all stomach compartments were full of foreign materials such as plastics of varying sizes and shapes, sacks, and among others.”
The result also stated squid beaks were recovered while the presence of parasites was observed in the whale’s stomach and kidney.
Blatchley called the death of the whale due to plastic wastes disgusting and urged the government to take action against those who continue to treat the waterways and ocean as dumpsites.
He said at least 57 whales of the 61 collections at his museum “died due to human causes in the last 10 years.”
“On February 13, we had a Pygmy Sperm Whale recovered in Panacan, Davao, which died due to a chip bag and a used condom inside the stomach,” he said.
A report released by the City Fishery Office of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Office (BFAR)-Davao Region on Saturday evening said the whale, seen last March 15, 2019, on the coastline of Mabini town, could not swim on its own.
Attempts to push the “emaciated and weak” whale farther away were futile as it would always go back to shore, the report said.
Blood samples were taken from whale and results showed the whale, which had a “prominent backbone and peanut-shaped head,” was dehydrated, it said.
The report added the struggling creature vomited blood and had brown discharges from its anus on the second day. It died a few moments later.
Its remains were brought to the D’Bone Collector Museum in Davao City for necropsy examination.
“The BFAR 11 team collected tissue samples for the scientific determination of other possible causes of death through a series of histophatologic tests,” it said.