A 4.5 tonne sperm whale that washed ashore in southern Spain died from ingesting large amounts of plastic sheets used in greenhouses on farms in the region, a scientist said Thursday. The whale, which came ashore last year on a beach in Andalusia, had over 17 kilogrammes (37 pounds) of garbage blocking its stomach, including some 30 square metres (36 square yards) of plastic canvas, said Renaud de Stephanis, a marine biologist at the Donana Biological Station, which is run by the Spanish National Research Council.
“We quickly realised that it had a real greenhouse inside its stomach. We did not expect it, but it did not surprise us,” he told AFP in a telephone interview.
“There were a dozen metres of plastic rope, plastic sheeting used on the outside of greenhouses, and plastic sheeting used inside and even two flower pots.”