Upsetting photographs show the shocking result of pollution on a whale that starved to death because it had swallowed 80 plastic bags.
The pilot whale was barely alive when it was found by rescuers in a canal near Thailand’s border with Malaysia.
The whale was described as ’emaciated’ and had struggled to eat because itsstomach was so full of plastic.
It vomited up five bags during rescue attempts which proved fruitless, as the animal died a short time later.
One of the surgeons tasked with trying to treat the whale said it was the worst case of an animal dying due to plastic pollution she had ever seen.
An autopsy revealed 80 plastic bags weighing up to 8kg (18lb) in the creature’s stomach, the veterinary team said.
People used buoys to keep the whale afloat after it was first spotted on Monday.
An umbrella was used to protect the animal from the blazing sun.
Thon Thamrongnawasawat, a marine biologist and lecturer at Kasetsart University, said the bags had made it impossible for the whale to eat any nutritional food.
‘If you have 80 plastic bags in your stomach, you die,’ he said.
Thailand is one of the world’s largest users of plastic bags.
Thon said at least 300 marine animals including pilot whales, sea turtles and dolphins, perished each year in Thai waters after ingesting plastic.
‘It’s a huge problem,’ he said. ‘We use a lot of plastic.’
Surgeon Dr Watchara Sakornwimon, who carried out a post-mortem, told Sky News: ‘We found a lot of plastic bags in the stomach, I think around 85 plastic bags.
‘Somehow they were from another country, they were not from only Thailand.
‘Because its the ocean and he’s a whale he can travel around the world. So he ate plastic bags wherever he was that day before he became stranded.’