Lucky for this huge shark, it swam upon some helpful humans that saved it from a plastic strap stuck around its head which was “slowly being sliced off.”
The shark became trapped by the litter when it was younger, and as the shark has grown over the years, the plastic became tighter and tighter around the shark’s neck. When James Sulikowski found the seven-foot porbeagle shark, it already had a couple-of-inches deep gash around its neck like a collar that would have soon decapitated it.
The shark was luckily found by Sulikowski and a team from the Shark and Fish Conservation Lab at the School of Mathematical and Natural Sciences at Arizona State University.
The group of scientists posted on their Facebook page, saying, “Photos … show the female shark’s head was slowly being sliced off by the unyielding strap. The piece of circular plastic had become lodged around her neck when she was younger. As she grew, it began to cut through her skin into her muscle, if we had not removed it, she surely would have died.”
Plastic in the Oceans
The strap calls attention to the amount of pollution that is left in our oceans. The issue has turned into a major crisis that threatens the livelihood of many marine animals. In fact, more than a million birds and nearly 100,000 sea creatures are killed by plastic pollution each year.
According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, over 300 million tons of plastic are produced each year. At least 8 million tons of it end up in the oceans. In addition, plastic “makes up 80% of all marine debris from surface water to deep-sea sediments.”
Sulikowski presumes that the plastic strap was left behind by a fisherman.
“The box went overboard, and the porbeagle shark, when younger, ate the fish in the box,” he said. “While doing so, [the] strap got wrapped around the sharks head. As the shark grew, the strap dug into the shark’s flesh.”
Similar Fate for Whale
Similarly, a male minke whale recently died from a fishing line that became wrapped around its neck and strangled him. According to the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), the whale was washed up on a shore in Massachusetts. The group said the fishing line was “wrapped around its head and through its mouth, creating a bridle.”
“Plastic in all forms is an issue,” Sulikowski stated. “We need more research to understand the extent of the long term effects of this type of pollution.”