How a Seal Pup Died With a Plastic Wrapper in Its Stomach
A flimsy film of plastic clogged the sick pup’s intestines and could have catalyzed its death.
A little piece of plastic is all it takes to destroy an animal’s life.
Last Friday, a dead harp seal pup was found on the island of Skye and brought to the Scottish Marine Animal Stranding Scheme, a government-funded organization that investigates mortality in marine mammals. There, veterinary pathologist Andrew Brownlow necropsied the corpse and pulled a small, crucially placed square of plastic out of its stomach. He posted about the case on the SMASS Facebook page on Wednesday.
The animal was likely eight months to a year old. Brownlow says it’s unusual to find plastic debris inside a seal stomach—seals more often become entangled by fishing nets, lines, and lures and die that way, rather than being