Results from investigations into the sperm whale strandings in Germany in February have revealed that the whales died from heart (cardiovascular) failure after beaching on the shoreline. Without support from the water, the sheer weight of the whales crushed their lungs and other organs, leading to death.
Nearly 30 sperm whales stranded in the UK, France, Netherlands and Germany at the start of the year, but it is still not clear why these whales got into difficulty in the first place.
Large amounts of plastic waste were also found in the stomachs of the sperm whales, including fishing nets, parts of a plastic bucket and even a plastic car cover. Although not the direct cause of death, vets suspect that the whales would soon experience major health problems as a result of this toxic waste.
This is an alarming insight into the state of our seas. Only today, British beach clean studies were released in the UK showing a 43% increase in plastic bottles found on UK beaches – 160 plastic bottles for every mile of coastline cleaned last year.
You can read more about the problems of plastic in the current WDC magazine.