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Investigation underway as huge 18m whale washes up on remote beach

·Environment Editor
·2-min read

An investigation is underway to discover why a massive whale died on a remote Philippines beach.

D’Bone Collector museum owner Darrell Blatchley messaged Yahoo News Australia about his find, as he took a short rest from performing a necropsy on the mature sperm whale.

Unable to move the 18 x 3 metre male from the beach due to its weight, he is forced to work on the animal while the tide is out, often at night.

Darrell Blatchley is working to determine the whale's cause of death. Source: D'Bone Collector
Darrell Blatchley is working to determine the whale's cause of death. Source: D'Bone Collector
The whale is in a remote southern part of the Philippines. Source: D'Bone Collector
The whale is in a remote southern part of the Philippines. Source: D'Bone Collector

Patchy internet and phone reception in secluded Jose Abad Santos, south of Davao City, has hampered communication, but Mr Blatchley is determined to continue his investigation until Saturday.

In 2019, he made worldwide headlines after cutting open a dead whale and discovering 40kg of plastic inside it.

“This whale had the most plastic we have ever seen in a whale. It’s disgusting,” he said at the time.

Theory as to why whale died revealed

Despite having worked on the whale since Monday, Mr Blatchley is yet to determine whether plastic played a role in killing the whale, but there are signs he could be quite old. Sperm whales typically live for about 70 years.

“The teeth are worn down, the size of the whale is near maximum," he said via text message.

Mr Blatchley has been working for three days to determine the whale's cause of death. Source: D'Bone Collector
Mr Blatchley has been working for three days to determine the whale's cause of death. Source: D'Bone Collector
Unable to move the whale, Mr Blatchley is often forced to work at night. Source: D'Bone Collector
Unable to move the whale, Mr Blatchley is often forced to work at night. Source: D'Bone Collector

Photos shared with Yahoo News Australia by Mr Blatchley show him and his team dwarfed by the whale as they work knee deep in water.

Its skin appears decayed and reddened, and much of the flesh has since been torn from its skeleton.

Mr Blatchley has dedicated his life to exposing human practices that lead to dolphin and whale deaths.

He is particularly vocal about plastics, which have killed the majority of marine mammals he has examined.

This year, the United Nations agreed to prepare a worldwide plastics treaty to help reduce their impact on the planet.

In 2015, it was estimated 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic were choking the world's oceans, and the situation has only worsened due to PPE waste created during the Covid-19 pandemic.

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