Volunteers and marine veterinarians from Department of Marine and Coastal Resources attempted to rescue a sick male pilot whale in the coastal area of southern Thailand near the Malaysian border, 28 May 2018. Photo: ThaiWhales / AFP / Getty Images

BANGKOK, 3 June 2018 (Reuters) – Some 80 pieces of plastic rubbish weighing 17 pounds were found in the stomach of a whale that died in Thailand after a five-day effort to save it, a marine official said on Sunday.

The pilot whale was discovered on Monday in a canal in the southern province of Songkhla and received treatment from a team of veterinarians.

The whale spit out five plastic bags on Friday and later died, the Marine and Coastal Resources Department said on its website.

An autopsy found another 80 bags and other plastic items weighing more than 17 pounds (8 kg) in the whale’s stomach.

“This plastic rubbish made the whale sick and unable to hunt for food,” the department said.

Jatuporn Buruspat, head of the department, said the whale probably thought the floating plastic bags were food. […]

A government marine veterinarian is being helped by volunteers to remove plastics from the stomach of dead male pilot whale at the Marine and Coastal Resource Research and Development Center in Songkla province, Thailand, 1 June 2018. Photo: ThaiWhales / AFP / Getty Images

Globally, eight million tons of plastic — bottles, packaging and other waste — are dumped into the ocean every year, killing marine life and entering the human food chain, the United Nations Environment Programme said in December. [more]

Dead whale found in Thailand with 17 pounds of plastic in its stomach

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