Brazil: killer whale found dead with stomach full of plastic



by LORENZO CIOTTI

Brazil: killer whale found dead with stomach full of plastic

A new drama in Brazil, due to plastic pollution. A female orca has been found dead with a stomach full of plastic. What types of plastic? Plastic bags, various plastic waste and a rolled up mat measuring 89×40 centimeters.

The orca was found dead on the Costabella Serra beach in Nova Almedia, along the east coast of Brazil. The presence of numerous parasites also indicates that she has not been able to swim well for some time. Plastic pollution is a global emergency, with around 8 million tonnes of waste ending up in the world's seas and oceans every year.

Among the main victims are the cetaceans. Other animals end up trapped in the plastic and die. A sperm whale was recently found dead in Canada with 150 kilograms of plastic in its stomach. IUCN has not yet assessed the current conservation status of the orca because data is insufficient due to the likelihood that two or more types of orca are separate species.

Some local populations are considered threatened or endangered due to the destruction of their habitat, pollution, their capture for use in marine parks and constant conflicts with fishermen. Killer whales are found in all seas and oceans of the world, from the cold Arctic and Antarctic regions to tropical seas.

They have a very broad diet, although individual populations specialize in particular types of prey. Some feed exclusively on fish, while others hunt birds and penguins, marine mammals such as sea lions, seals, whales and dolphins.

Killer whales are considered apex predators at the apex of the food pyramid, in fact they have no natural predators. They present hunting and communication techniques that are often typical of a single population and are handed down from one individual to another.

The orca's habitat is spread over all the seas and oceans of the world and lives both in the abyss and in the slums near the coasts, sometimes even reaching the mouths of some rivers. Normally, however, the orca prefers to live in cold Arctic and Antarctic waters where, in the summer, it hunts among the ice floes. Only a few populations migrate toward the equator in the summer, much like gray whales that migrate near US shores.