HomeIAMURE International Journal of Ecology and Conservationvol. 19 no. 1 (2016)

First Evidence of Plastic Ingestion by the Rare Deraniyagala’s Beaked Whale (Mesoplodon hotaula)

Neil Angelo S. Abreo | Edison D. Macusi | DARRELL D.. BLATCHLEY | Ginalyn C. Cuenca

 

Abstract:

Marine plastic pollution has adversely affected different species through entanglement and ingestion. Globally, 66% (81 of 123 species) of marine mammals are reported to have interacted with plastic in the marine environment, suffering negative effects. Te number of marine organisms affected is expected to rise as a function of the increasing amount of plastic in the marine environment. With the high contribution of the Philippines to marine plastic pollution, this study aimed to record plastic ingestion by cetaceans found in the country. Post-mortem gastrointestinal (GI) tract examination was performed in the Deraniyagala’s beaked whale (Mesoplodon hotaula) beached in Maco, Compostela Valley, Philippines. A piece of coal and a 133 cm black polypropylene rope was suspected to have caused blockage in the GI tract of the specimen. Occlusion of GI tract by plastic is often implicated to mortality of organisms found to have ingested the material. This study provides the first evidence of plastic ingestion by M. hotaula and confirms the susceptibility of cetaceans to plastic ingestion in the Philippines.