Orca Found Dead With A Stomach Full Of Trash
Yogurt containers, junk food wrappers and part of an old shoe were just some of the things scientists found riddling the insides of an orca who washed up dead on a South African shore earlier this month.
Warning: Graphic content below
The objects they excavated from the female orca's body hint at her desperate final days to find something close to shore to eat. Sadly, all that was close to the populous shore of Plettenberg Bay was garbage.
"Killer whales off South Africa typically only feed on mammals (seals, dolphins) or large fish and squid," Dr. Gwenith Penry - who has been studying marine mammals for over a decade and coordinates the Plett Stranding Network to help animals in need - said on Facebook. The body of the orca was taken to a trash dump for dissection.
Dr. Penry posted photos of what she found in the orca's stomach.
"It is likely that this individual became ill and too weak to hunt with the rest of her pod so moved inshore and tried to feed on what was available and easy to find," Dr. Penry wrote.
Coming just days after the climate talks in Paris, the orca seems like an icon for a polluted planet in dire need of help. Last year, scientists reported that the Earth's species are facing a sixth mass extinction - caused by human impacts on the Earth.
While some people continue to turn a blind eye to the overwhelming environmental problems caused by humans, others are finding even the tiniest ways to help.
A couple of surfers from Australia, tired of seeing the filth littering the surface of the crystal waters, invented a special trash can for the ocean.
Every little bit helps: Learn how you can decrease your harmful impact on the planet here.
As for the orca, her skull will likely be displayed in a museum.