Pregnant sperm whale found dead along Italian coastline with 22kg of plastic in its belly


Photo Credit: SEAME Sardinia/Facebook/@seamesardinia
Photo Credit: SEAME Sardinia/Facebook/@seamesardinia

The carcass of a pregnant sperm whale, which washed up in Sardinia, has been found have fishing nets, plastic plates and a bag of washing detergent inside its stomach.

The body of a pregnant sperm whale washed up in Sardinia, Italy, with over 22kg of plastic in its stomach, reports said on Monday.

Luca Bittau, president of the SeaMe group, told CNN the beached mammal’s remains contained “garbage bags … fishing nets, lines, tubes, the bag of a washing machine liquid still identifiable, with brand and barcode … and other objects no longer identifiable.”

The dead whale was discovered on a patch of rocky shoreline by the caretaker of a private beach resort in Cala Romantica, near Porto Cervo, late last week. Members of the local fire brigades used heavy equipment to hoist the 8-metre long whale onto a truck for transport inland where a necropsy could be performed over the weekend.

“It is the first time we have been confronted with an animal with such a huge quantity of garbage,” Cinzia Centelegghe, a biologist with the University of Padova, told the Turin daily La Stampa.

The necropsy also determined that the whale was carrying a fetus that had died and was in an advance state of decomposition. 

This latest shock discovery has prompted the World Wildlife Foundation to sound an alarm over the dangers of plastic waste in the Mediterranean Sea.

Italy’s Environment Minister Sergio Costa in a Facebook post said, “Are there still people who say these are not important problems? For me they are, and they are priorities.”


“We’ve used the ‘comfort’ of disposable objects in a lighthearted way in the past years and now we are paying the consequences. Indeed the animals, above all, are the ones paying them,” he continued.

Bittau says the animal’s cause of death will be known after histological and toxicological examinations are carried out by vets in Padua, northern Italy.



Let us keep you up to date with our weekly MiNDFOOD e-newsletters which include the weekly menu plan, health and news updates or tempt your taste buds with the MiNDFOOD Daily Recipe.