Whale dies after swallowing 80 plastic bags

Volunteers attempt to rescue the male pilot whale and nurse it back to health

An umbrella was used to protect the animal from the blazing sun.

The pilot whale was barely alive when it was found by rescuers in a canal near Thailand's border with Malaysia.

Volunteers and veterinarians worked for several days to try and save the whale.

It vomited five plastic bags during the rescue attempt.

Eighty plastic bags were found in the stomach of a pilot whale which died in southern Thailand.

Last month, the Thai government said it was considering a levy on disposable plastic shopping bags. It is thought that the whale had probably mistaken the bags for food and eaten them.

Marine biologist Thon Thamrongnawasawat told the Agence France-Presse media organisation that the bags had made it impossible for the whale to eat the nutritional food it needed to survive.

Thai officials say locals in Southern Thailand noticed the short-fin male pilot whale looking sick and floating oddly earlier this week, so government veterinarians and people from a whale conservancy organization came in to help. Of that, almost 270,000 tons of large and small plastic debris are on the surface. "Plastic remains in our ecosystem for years, harming thousands of sea creatures every day", the United Nations explained.

The dead whale is likely to have been the short-finned species of pilot whale, which have been nicked named the "cheetahs of the sea" due to their high-speed pursuits of squid.

Trash in the ocean has affected other whale species.

A 30ft sperm whale, weighing nearly seven tons, was found dead on a Spanish beach earlier this year with more than 60lb of rubbish trapped in its guts. An autopsy found 17lb, or eight kg, of plastic in its stomach.

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