Scientists have had a rare opportunity to inspect a dead killer whale (orca) that washed up at Plettenberg Bay this week. And its stomach contents have painted a sad story of how she may have spent her last days.
Yoghurt pots, a shoe sole and food wrappers were some of the items that Plett Stranding Network co-ordinator, Dr Gwenith Penry, found in the animal’s stomach.
She said the 5.7m whale had very little real food in her stomach.
She said the stomach was “a very interesting thing to look at”.
“It gives you a good idea of what was happening to the animal before the other tests are done,” she told News24 on Thursday.
She has been studying whales for 12 years.
It was believed the whale had been ill and separated from her pod because she was not able to keep up.
The plastic, sea grass and tube organisms in her stomach suggested she had been trying to feed in the shallow waters of the bay.
“We’re not sure whether it’s cause or effect, but she might have been trying to pick up anything she could. Or she swallowed something earlier on and it blocked her passages, so she felt full, but wasn’t digesting.”