A heart-wrenching incident unfolded as a 10-foot whale calf met a tragic end after consuming a party balloon, leading to the discovery of its lifeless body on a serene beach.
The ill-fated Gervais’ beaked whale incident caught the attention of beachgoers on Emerald Isle beach in Morehead City, North Carolina, USA.
Upon the arrival of authorities, a sad reality emerged as they encountered the lifeless form of a 10-foot 9-inch female calf.
The stranded whale was carefully retrieved from the surf and transported to the NC State University Center for Marine Sciences and Technology (CMAST) for closer examination. The results of thorough tests conducted there unveiled the heartbreaking cause of death – ingestion of plastic, specifically a pentagon-shaped party balloon.
A CMAST spokesperson lamented, “Regrettably, this young female whale met her demise due to plastic ingestion.”
The collaborative team meticulously scrutinized every aspect of the young whale during the necropsy procedure. Initially, everything appeared normal until they reached the stomach.
In a sorrowful revelation, they discovered traces of milk, indicating the whale was a nursing calf and the crumpled remnants of a pentagonal plastic balloon. This object had obstructed the passage of digested through the gastrointestinal tract, sealing the fate of the innocent marine creature.
The spokesperson continued with a poignant plea, “Before commemorating significant life events with balloons, be they latex or Mylar, we implore you to contemplate using biodegradable alternatives. Furthermore, ensure all gases have been expelled from balloons before discarding them. This simple precaution can prevent them from becoming ‘stray’ hazards that pose an avoidable and tragic threat, leading to the suffering and demise of wildlife, as tragically exemplified by this unfortunate Gervais’ beaked whale.”
The discovery of the stranded whale occurred on October 30th, with the revelation of the cause of death emerging this week.
The spokesperson concluded, shedding light on the enigmatic nature of Gervais’ beaked whales, stating, “These magnificent creatures are expansive, deep-diving denizens of the sea. The intricacies of Gervais’ beaked whale social dynamics and life history remain mysterious. Sightings of these creatures are rare, as their natural habitat extends to the continental shelf edge and beyond, where they spend most of their existence submerged beneath the waves.”
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