A mother pygmy sperm whale that was found stranded on a beach in northwestern Spain with its tiny calf alongside it has apparently died after swallowing a plastic cup.
The pygmy sperm whale (Kogia breviceps) was already dead when it was found in the coast of the municipality of Malpica, in the northwestern Spanish region of Galicia.
The female whale was found along with its offspring that was still alive, but later died despite the efforts of rescuers.
A volunteer of the Coordinator for the Study of Marine Mammals (CEMMA), called Jose Manuel Perez, found the dead whale and the offspring on the beach and called the organization that rushed to the area to help the animals.
The organization informed on social networks that the autopsy of the mother confirmed the presence of plastic obstacles they described as a plastic cup in the stomach that “had caused injuries in the wall”.
“Due to the lack of any more evidence or problems seen at first sight, and while waiting for other analysis, the injuries caused by the plastic cup must be the real cause of the stranding”, CEMMA explained.
The organization also informed that this kind of mammal that dives a lot are increasingly suffering from problems caused by eating items that they have not properly identified before consuming.
CEMMA also said that it is extremely unusual to see pygmy sperm whales on the Galicia coast and that they are spotted or seen stranded only once per year, based on records from the organisation going back for the last 30 years.