Human pollution likely killed 47ft sperm whale found dead off Florida Keys

Human pollution likely killed 47ft sperm whale found dead off Florida Keys

MONROE COUNTY, Florida. – This month proved deadly for two endangered sperm whales that washed up in the waters of the Florida Keys last week.

A newborn calf was separated from its mother and could not survive on its own. But the adult male who was found days later was apparently killed by something much more insidious.

What was once a majestic 47-foot sperm whale was later devoured by hungry sharks off Big Pine Key.

“I was amazed to see the sharks there,” said Captain Jack Carlson, owner of Two Conchs Charters. “Decomposing Whale Brings Sharks From Everywhere.”

Huge tiger sharks have been seen feasting on the dead whale for days.

Wildlife officials had brought the carcass back to sea after the giant mammal washed up off Mudd Key, 15 miles northeast of Key West, on May 10.

“So this whale has been floating there for a while,” Carlson said.

Carlson said he couldn’t believe the footage his crew shared with him.

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“It’s just sad to see a creature like that floating dead on water,” he said.

Worse still, the whale was likely killed by human pollution.

Stranded in the shallow waters of the Gulf, the adult male was one of two endangered sperm whales found dead in Florida Keys waters in just seven days. He was brought to Robbie’s Marina on Stock Island, where state and federal biologists performed an autopsy.

According to an FWC spokesperson, the whale “had a mass of intertwining lines, pieces of netting and plastic bag-like material in its stomach. This debris probably did not allow the whale to eat properly, leading to its emaciated state and stranding.

“Unfortunately, when animals consume our waste, they can’t break it down in their stomachs and they fill up and actually think they’re full, so they can end up starving to death,” said Maddie Kaufman, director of the Debris Free program and outreach. Oceans.

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Debris Free Oceans is one of many ocean conservation organizations advocating for the reduction of plastic waste around the world.

Each year, 8 million metric tons of plastic enter our oceans and this is in addition to the approximately 150 million metric tons already present.

“We’ve actually picked up 2,000 pounds of trash between all of our reef cleanups here in Miami over the past four years — some sites we find weigh 130 pounds,” Kaufman said.

It’s killing our marine life, and we’re seeing it happening in real time.

“We see the animals that it affects – they choke, they choke and get tangled in these things and it’s heartbreaking,” said Catherine Uden, Oceana’s South Florida representative.

In the past 17 months alone, we’ve shown you two separate incidents in which Biscayne Bay dolphins became ensnared in carelessly abandoned fishing line and net – dolphins that would most certainly have died if they hadn’t been rescued by good humans who happened to be in the right place at the right time.

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But there were no heroes to stop the adult whale from consuming all that marine debris, and that’s up to all of us.

Until we do better and drastically reduce our plastic footprint, tragic scenes like this will continue to unfold.

“If you’re out there on the water and you see a floating piece of trash, whether it’s a balloon, a floating bottle, some debris, just pick it up,” Carlson said. “We do it every day here…the Florida Keys guides appreciate our water here…Keep our oceans clean!”

FWC officials say the final results of the autopsy will be released once the tissues of the dead sperm whale have been analyzed.

The material found in his stomach will also be sent to determine its type and where it might have come from.

Click here for more information on Debris Free Oceans and how you can join their mission to clean up our oceans and reefs.

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