Dolphin Dies After Digesting 9 Pounds of Plastic Bags

Let's keep our water clean.

Kota Kinabalu (East Malaysia): The 3-metre dolphin that died days after it beached in Kg Teluk Layang has left a disturbing tale for those concerned about wildlife conservation and sea pollution – a total of 4.25kg (9 pounds) of plastic rubbish discarded by irresponsible humans was found in its belly during a post mortem on Friday. Before it died, the dolphin gorged 21 small plastic bags, 11 plastic sheets, 1 plastic detergent and a 6 metre tape line.

dolphin 1Some of the refuse found in the dolphin's stomach.

Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS), where the mammal was kept at its Borneo Marine Research Institute facility, identified the stranded dolphin found eight days ago here, as a short-finned pilot whale.

The heap of plastic found in its stomach that has left everyone who nursed the animal until it died sad. Sabah Wildlife Department Assistant Director Dr. Sen Nathan said floating garbage at sea or flotsam is a global concern, not only off Sabah.

"It's very sad indeed," he said. "But God knows how many of them have died in the ocean and were not found."

Experts believed the plastics were the reason the dolphin beached itself as the animal's gastric mucosa was severely impaired due to the rubbish.

The plastic had prevented food digestion and led to severe malnutrition and eventually compromised the dolphin's respiration and caused its death.

The dolphin may have confused the plastics to squid and fish, which was its staple diet.

On March 19, the animal was spotted by a villager in Teluk Layang here before UMS was contacted and later notified the Sabah Wildlife Rescue Unit.

It was found weak with bodily injuries and was in need of treatment.

It was transferred to a facility at UMS's Borneo Marine Research Institute the next day and was tended to by experts, volunteers and rangers from the Marine Institute and Wildlife Rescue Units round-the-clock.

The mammal was also administered with antibiotic, pain killer, anti-parisitic drug, appetite stimulant, gastric medicine as well as force-fed to keep it alive.

But those who attended to the animal noticed that it was not eating. Its condition deteriorated and it died seven days later.


The Online Fisherman

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