Estepona Whale: Death could have been caused by ingested plastics

Image: Ayuntamiento de Estepona

The whale washed up on Estepona beach earlier this week could have died from ingesting plastics found polluting the sea, said an expert. The Estepona whale was found on Thursday 20 January at La Rada beach and measured more than 14 metres in length.
The director of the Center for the Recovery of Endangered Marine Species (CREMA) of the Aula del Mar in Malaga, José Luis Mons, explained to Malaga Hoy that the small pieces of plastic are trapped in the whales’ baleen and the large ones are impossible to expel, which can cause the death of these animals.
This is an issue that can affect other marine life too, mainly turtles, who have to undergo emergency surgery when they ingest any plastics from the water. Another common cause of death for marine life is interaction with fishing vessels and equipment, although the Estepona whale did not show signs of this being the case for it.
“Sometimes we also find young animals that have died simply because they have not been fed well or old animals that have died due to age,” says Mons.
However, CREMA is on alert, since the bodies of three dolphins have also recently appeared on the coast of the capital of Malaga, as well as other cases in Torremolinos, Marbella and Nerja. Some facts that investigate whether they correspond to a coincidence, are derived from “a big storm” or there is another cause behind these deaths.
The removal of the Estepona whale was carried out by specialised machinery contracted by the city council and covered live by EuroWeekly News. The carcass was taken to a landfill after the experts from CREMA extracted samples for investigation and genetic studies.
Due to its dimensions and the state of decomposition in which it was found – they estimate that it had been dead between eight and ten days -, José Luis Mons has assured that it is impossible to exhibit it in the Alborania-Aula del Mar Museum in Malaga, as reported by Malaga Hoy.

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Written by

Claire Gordon


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