A gang of Australian fisherman who were approached by a whale were shocked to discover that the desperate marine animal was choking on plastic bags and pleading for help.
The fishermen were anchored in Middle Harbour, north of Sydney when they noticed a barnacle-covered whale approach their boat. Not knowing quite what to expect, the deep sea anglers were taken by surprise when the friendly whale circled their boat, swam below the surface and began nudging it.
Manly Daily reports that 17-year-old fisherman Michael Riggio and his friend Ivan Iskenderian who took a “whale of a selfie” with the gentle giant, found the whole situation extremely surreal.
“It was surreal, we couldn’t believe our eyes.”
Delighted to be so close to a true marvel of the sea, the fishermen’s excitement was obvious, but at first they failed to notice the whale’s distress.
Ron Kovacs who was fishing in his own boat a short distance from the young fisherman and captured the event on camera, observed that the whale was bopping its head out of the water in an apparent plea for help to remove the “garbage” that was causing it considerable upset.
“He just popped his head up so you could reach out and remove the garbage. I made one grab for the bag but missed. He was very inquisitive and more interested in us. You could see that big eye coming out watching us. They are not dumb for sure.
“He has a big scar on his back. He had some fishing line and two plastic bags on his head. I managed to grab at it but missed. He later came up to a trailer boat and presented his head as they removed the bag and the fishing line.”
After having the rubbish removed from its mouth, the grateful giant can be seen swimming away while flapping its fin in appreciation.
It’s well documented that plastic is one of the biggest threats facing the future of the earth. Eight million tons of plastic finds its way to our ocean each year. To put that into some kind of perspective, it’s the equivalent in body weight to that of 45,000 blue whales.
The Inquisitr earlier reported that 90 percent of seabirds found dead on the beach have ingested plastic and science writer Gaia Vince has estimated that every square kilometer of ocean now contains an average of 18,500 pieces of plastic.
Author Philip Hoare has seen with his own eyes the effect plastic pollution is having on the earth’s wildlife.
“I’ve seen many scenes in my work studying whales, dolphins and marine mammals, both uplifting and disheartening. But one of the saddest was the sight of a young grey seal pup in a colony on the idyllic shores of Cape Cod.
“It was an otherwise healthy animal — but with a plastic strap looped round its neck — the kind you get around a parcel. Slowly but surely, as the animal grew, its noose would tighten.
“As I looked at the animal, I could foretell its painful death, probably from starvation, as the seal became unable to feed.
“Even more upsetting are the great whales which also mistakenly eat plastic rubbish. One sperm whale off the coast of Spain was found to have swallowed 100 plastic bags. It, too, died a horrible death — as do 100,000 other marine mammals each year, from the same terrible cause.”
So next time you fail to reuse a plastic bag or recycle a plastic bottle, just think about where it could end up and what the consequences will be.
(Images Via Instagram/Facebook/David Greedy/Joe Raedle/Getty Images)