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An emaciated killer whale died after being stranded on a beach last week and was found to have severe gum and organ inflammation as well as plastic in her stomach.


A necropsy revealed that the orca had infections and inflamed heart valves, brain membrane, and reproductive organs. The orca also had an empty gut except for a sheet of plastic. They also found muscle damage.

According to Lonneke IJsseldijk, the project manager of marine mammal stranding research at Utrecht University and member of the research team studying the animal, all of the orca’s teeth were loose and rotting. “The animal must certainly have been in real pain when eating food,” he said in a statement.

“The animal was very ill, besides the gingivitis (inflammation to the teeth, gum) she also suffered from several internal inflammations, including the meninges, a heart valve, and in the reproductive organ. We are doing ancillary testing to investigate which pathogen or pathogens were involved; whether there was one common cause or several to explain the abnormalities we found in her organs. We need this information before we can elaborate upon causes,” IJsseldijk, told Newsweek.

When the orca was stranded, the orca looked malnourished, according to a statement.

“In the stomach there were no food remains. We found only a small plastic sheet, but that had no bearing on the cause of death. The more than 30-meter-long intestine was also empty. This orca had not eaten anything for days,” biologist Mardik Leopold of Wageningen Marine Research said.

Plastic waste is killing whales all around the globe at an alarming rate. A Cuvier-beaked whale washed ashore in the Philippines with over 40 kilos of plastic in its stomach. A pilot whale died in southern Thailand as a result of eating more than 80 plastic bags. The body of a dead sperm whale washed up on the southern coast of Spain was found to have 64 pounds of plastic bags, a jerrycan, and several pieces of rope and net. Studies show a majority of whales found dead in the Mediterranean were killed by our plastic trash. Sea Shepherd created an eye-opening campaign to draw attention to how plastic pollution impacts whales and dolphins.

Plastic is also found in various other animals as well, like deer and cows. There are products you may be using or habits you may have that contribute to plastic Pollution. Learn more about how the use of Teabags, Cotton Swabs, Laundry, Contact Lenses, Glitter, and Sheet Masks pollute our oceans so you can make more informed decisions going forward. There are also numerous simple actions and switches that can help cut plastic out of our lives, including making your own cosmetics, shampoo, toothpaste, soap, and household cleaners, using mason jars, reusable bags/bottles/straws, and avoiding microbeads

Sign this petition to demand the end of the single-use plastics killing whales and damaging our oceans!

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