Sperm whale stranded in Scotland sets world alarms

Scottish Marine Animal Strandings Scheme reported that a sperm whale was found dead on the beaches of Seilebost on the Isle of Harris, north of Scotland.

A mother sperm whale and her young.

A mother sperm whale and her young. / Photo: flickr.com/Gabriel Barathieu - Reference image

LatinAmerican Post | Alberto Castaño Camacho

Listen to this article

Leer en español: Cachalote encallado en Escocia prende alarmas mundiales

A British organization, Scottish Marine Animal Strandings Scheme, reported that a sperm whale was found dead on the beaches of Seilebost on the Isle of Harris in northern Scotland. Sadly, these types of reports, over the years, are becoming more frequent and the number of animals aground increases exponentially, putting the entire food web of the oceans at risk.

Photographer Melvin Nicholson described how they spotted the sperm whale from afar with one of the clients of his workshop and decided to drive as close as the road allowed them to reach the point of the whale's bending. "We traveled the 20-minute journey walking to the whale with the coast guard that arrived at the time that as we did; upon arrival, the whale had passed away," said the British photographer.

Scottish Marine Animal Strandings Scheme reported that it was a young male, almost adult, which represents a huge loss for the species, as these animals tend to live for many years, and in turn, their reproduction rate is supremely low.

Not only is the collapse of this colossal animal truly unfortunate, the finding is shameful, which the researchers who advanced the autopsy made when exploring the animal in detail to try to establish the causes of death.

More than 100 kilos (220 pounds) of human waste were found in the digestive system of the sperm whale. “A whole range of plastic including net sections, rope packages, plastic cups, bags, gloves, packing straps and tubes. All this material was in a huge ball in the stomach and some of it looked like it had been there for some time.

Debris from both land and fishing boats at sea suggests that not only those who live near the oceans are responsible for the dizzying degradation of the seas and the creatures that inhabit them. Also, those who inhabit the mainland populations within the islands and continents have ample responsibility in the effects that are suffered in the oceans.

The rescue organization of stranded animals in Britain reported that “the animal was not in particularly bad conditions and although it is certainly possible that this amount of debris was a factor in its beach stranding, we could not really find evidence that this had impacted or obstructed the intestines. ”

Read also: A new world map rates food sustainability for countries across the globe

Despite this, they clarify that “this amount of plastic in the stomach is however horrible, it must have compromised digestion and serves to demonstrate, once again, the dangers that marine litter and lost or discarded fishing equipment can cause Marine life".

The scenario in which this event took place was a beach on the Isle of Harris, in the north of Scotland and in front of this place, the seabed is composed of very fragile sand dunes, so it was impossible to tow the animal until open sea and let it sink, incorporating as essential nutrients for the food chain, as happens naturally when an animal dies in the sea.

"We had to bury it in the place," said the organization and warned that at this time the body of the whale will decompose under the sands without visitors and tourists being able to warn that there was a necropsy of an immense animal that ran aground with waste humans in your stomach and intestines.

When a death of these occurs, it is convenient for readers to know that it was not simply a “fish” plus the one that was lost, it was a specimen of one of the most fascinating species that share the planet with the human species, a sperm whale has some supremely interesting particularities that surely if we knew them, we would avoid using so much plastic of a single-use and we would be much more careful in the use of these elements so that they never touched the waters of a river that leads them to the sea and as a final destination, it ended up causing the death of this and millions of other animals.

Also read: Nearly 40% of species are very rare and are vulnerable to climate change

These huge animals are the ones with the largest teeth in the world, males, such as stranded in Scotland, can measure up to 20 and a half meters and weigh more than 50 tons, the specimens of this species have the largest brain in the world. world and feed on truly large prey, such as the giant squid and the colossal squid, true sea monsters that are at a depth of up to three kilometers below the surface of the water.

It is the largest active and direct predator on earth and possibly the largest ever. It produces a click that is considered as the most intense sound that any animal can produce and it is speculated that it does to stun prey or as a sonar.

And finally, it must be said, the most unfortunate thing in this whole story of the stranded sperm whale is that the loss of a specimen is a real tragedy for the species, because females only give birth only every 3 or 6 years and take care of their Ballenato for a full decade, so this young adult could have weaned just a few years ago before finding that the sea in which he was happily born, is full of our waste.