A whale shark swims beside a plastic bag in the Gulf of Aden near Yemen. Although whale sharks are the biggest fish in the sea, they're still threatened by ingesting small bits of plastic.
Photos of Animals Navigating a World of Plastic
From crabs using wrappers as camouflage to hyenas sorting through mounds of trash, here's how wildlife copes with our plastic problem.
Whales surfacing with discarded trash bags bursting from their stomachs. Birds building homes out of broken glass and plastic pieces. An old shopping bag found thousands of feet below the ocean's surface in the world’s deepest trench.
Plastic is a material we depend on for livelihoods and convenience. But for all intents and purposes, our planet, our wildlife, and ourselves are suffocating in it. (Related: eight fast facts about plastic pollution, illustrated.)
Hundreds of millions of pounds in plastic are discarded each year. That debris works its way up the food chain from microscopic bugs to the most iconic animals like whales, which along with many types of fish eat plastic thinking it’s food. Other creatures,