A young whale that washed up on a Scottish beach on the weekend was found to have 100kg of rubbish inside its stomach.
Ropes, fishing nets, plastic cups, plastic bags, gloves, tubes were found inside the sperm whale.
The Scottish Marine Animal Strandings Scheme said the whale became stranded on Luskentyre beach on the Isle of Harris, dying on the sand bank on Thursday. Over the weekend, a team performed a whale necropsy, saying they found a “shameful” amount of marine debris in the stomach.
In a statement, the Strandings Scheme said all the material was in a “huge ball” in the stomach, and while the animal wasn’t in particularly bad condition, they couldn’t say if it caused the whale to get stranded.
The group continued: “This amount of plastic in the stomach is nonetheless horrific, must have compromised digestion, and serves to demonstrate, yet again, the hazards that marine litter and lost or discarded fishing gear can cause to marine life.
"It is also perhaps a good example that this is a global issue caused by a whole host of human activities. This whale had debris in its stomach which seemed to have originated from both the land and fishing sectors, and could have been swallowed at any point between Norway and the Azores.”
The Scottish Marine Animal Stranding Scheme goes to places where stranded marine animals are found, carries out autopsies and reports and treats carcasses.