Video: Baby Whale’s Mutilated Tail Believed to Be Caused by ‘Ghost Nets’

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2 min read

Abandoned fishing nets strangle the life out of our oceans, and recent graphic footage of a whale calf swimming without a tail may be an example of the devastating depths of our plastic problem.

Off the coast of western Colombia, conservationists recorded a humpback whale calf breach the water. At first, nothing seemed abnormal, but the observers were left stunned as her tail—or what was left of it—emerged. Where a significant chunk of the tail should have been, there was nothing but a gruesome wound.

Experts believe the body part was most likely lost after becoming tightly entangled in an abandoned fishing net. Once circulation to the tail was cut off, it would eventually have fallen off.

Unfortunately, this baby humpback—maimed by humanity’s carelessness—will probably die without her tail. As conservationists from the Macuaticos Foundation—the group that initially tracked and filmed her—point out, whales’ tails are vital for traveling and diving deep. Moreover, her dark-colored injuries appear gangrenous.

There’s no justifying eating fish’s flesh—period.

According to a report titled Ghosts Beneath the Waves, more than 700,000 tons of fishing gear—also known as “ghost gear”—enters the ocean each year. This abandoned equipment mutilates or kills millions of sea animals and destroys already-threatened ecosystems, including shallow coral reef habitats.

Commercial fishing kills billions of animals worldwide every year, emptying our oceans of life. Nearly 90 percent of global “fisheries” are overexploited, and some 300,000 whales and dolphins die every year as “bycatch.” Tens of millions of sharks, turtles, seals, and other marine animals are killed in the same manner. Each individual wanted to live, and each death is senseless, whether it occurred because of a gruesome accident or to satisfy humans’ perverse appetite for flesh.

Marine animals may not always express themselves in ways that we can understand—and the misery that they endure when they’re pulled out of their homes to die on the decks of ships may not always be obvious—but science has proved beyond doubt that whales, fish, and other marine life feel pain, have loved ones, and even pass on their culture from generation to generation.

If we really want to help these individuals, prevent their suffering, and protect their ocean home, we need to stop eating them first!

Help spare whales and all other sea animals the immense suffering caused by the fishing industry—go vegan today.

Order a free vegan starter kit to help spare nearly 200 individuals a year a cruel, senseless death and to preserve the space many others call home.

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