This sperm whale was found dead with 64 pounds of trash in its digestive system

A young male sperm whale discovered dead off the coast of Spain died from ingesting a huge quantity of trash, authorities revealed this week.

Around 64 pounds of garbage — including plastic bags, ropes, fishing nets and a drum — was found lodged inside the mammal’s digestive system.

The 32-foot-long whale was discovered near the small resort of Cabo de Palos in the southeast Murcia region in February, per a statement released by the regional government on Wednesday.

Officials at the El Valle Wildlife Rescue Center determined from an autopsy conducted on the animal that it had died from its inability to digest or dislodge the trash or from peritonitis.

The animal’s tragic death has prompted Murcia’s regional government to launch a campaign, alongside the European Environmental Association and the European Fund for Regional Development, against ocean waste.

Related: See more of the international crisis: 

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Pollution in the world's oceans
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Pollution in the world's oceans
A pile of trash collected after it washed up on shore from the Pacific Ocean, waiting now to be shipped out, is seen as U.S. President Barack Obama tours the trash "boneyard" at Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, Midway Atoll, U.S., September 1, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Migrants' belongings and a navigational compass litter the deck of a wooden boat from which migrants were rescued 10.5 miles (16 km) off the coast of Libya, August 6, 2015. An estimated 600 migrants on the boat were rescued by the international non-governmental organisations Medecins sans Frontiere (MSF) and the Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) without loss of life on Thursday afternoon, according to MSF and MOAS, a day after more than 200 migrants are feared to have drowned in the latest Mediterranean boat tragedy after rescuers saved over 370 people from a capsized boat thought to be carrying 600 migrants. REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi MALTA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN MALTA
A man wades in neck-deep sea water filled with debris while searching for valuable items after a fire razed some 500 houses along a coastal village in Malabon city, north of Manila April 7, 2011. The fire, believed to be caused by an exploding liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) tank, started before dawn on Thursday. No casualties were reported but at least 3,000 residents lost their homes. Fire fighters had a difficult time getting to the scene and putting out the blaze because the houses were close to each other and made of light materials, local media reported. REUTERS/Erik de Castro (PHILIPPINES - Tags: DISASTER SOCIETY)
A boy is hit by waves at the height of Typhoon Nanmadol, known locally as Typhoon Mina, as he collects recyclable materials from garbage washed onto the shore along Manila Bay in Manila August 27, 2011. The local weather bureau said Typhoon Nanmadol slowed down but maintained its strength after making landfall over Gonzaga town in Cagayan province Saturday morning. REUTERS/Cheryl Ravelo (PHILIPPINES - Tags: ENVIRONMENT SOCIETY DISASTER TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)
Ram Singh (L) and his relatives, dressed in traditional Hindu saffron-coloured clothes walk on a garbage-strewn beach against the backdrop of monsoon clouds on World Environment Day in Mumbai, June 5, 2012. According to the United Nations Environment Programme website, World Environment Day is celebrated annually on June 5 to raise global awareness and motivate action for environmental protection. REUTERS/Vivek Prakash (INDIA - Tags: ENVIRONMENT SOCIETY)
An egret searches for food among part of the estimated 150 tons of trash collected in the Los Angeles River in this photo released by the County of Los Angeles Department of Public Works December 11, 2006, after the season's first heavy rainfall over the weekend. The river, which feeds into the Pacific Ocean, contains debris including styrofoam cups, paint spray cans, plastic water bottles and used oil containers carried from cities within Los Angeles County. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY REUTERS/County of Los Angeles Department Public Works/Bob Riha, Jr. (UNITED STATES)
A Lebanese skindiver picks up a garbage bag from the water in the Manara area August 17, as part of the Big Blue campaign to save the Mediterranean, sponsered by Ministry of Enviroment. Volunteers taking part in the campaign to clear the 210 km shoreline of rubbish said they were bitterly disappointed at the poor trunout to clean up the polluted Mediterranean beaches. LEBANON ENVIRONMENT
Local residents observed to see piles of garbage on January 17, 2018 at Kedonganan beach, Bali, Indonesia. (Photo by Muhammad Fauzy/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
A general view shows rubbish at the Kotsiatis landfill on the outskirts of the Cypriot capital Nicosia on August 28, 2017. With more visitors heading to the Mediterranean island than ever before, the waste disposal system is under pressure despite efforts to cut landfill and encourage recycling, waste management and tourism experts say. / AFP PHOTO / STRINGER (Photo credit should read STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images)
PLYMOUTH, ENGLAND - AUGUST 08: Volunteers collect plastic rubbish and waste washed up on the beach besides the University of Plymouth's Marine Station as they take part in a awareness-raising event organised by the all-female eXXpedition crew who are preparing to sail around Britain to highlight plastic in the oceans on August 8, 2017 in Plymouth, England. In a pioneering sailing expedition, starting and finishing at the University of Plymouth's Marine Station, a diverse group of women will collect water samples to measure for micro-plastics and other toxic chemicals, as well as hold events in the various ports that they sail to including Cardiff, Belfast, Arran, Stornaway, Edinburgh, London and Plymouth. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
MARETTIMO ISLAND, SICILY, ITALY - JULY 6 2017: plastic trash is seen during a rock bottom dive site -33 meters below the sea level on July 6 2017 inside the Egadi Arcipelago Natural reserve.
Plastic in the sea is collected by the crew of a whale spotting boat out at sea on the Atlantic Ocean looking towards the volcanic coastline near Tazacorte in La Palma, Canary Islands, Spain. La Palma, also San Miguel de La Palma, is the most north-westerly Canary Island in Spain. La Palma has an area of 706�km2 making it the fifth largest of the seven main Canary Islands. (photo by Mike Kemp/In Pictures via Getty Images)
Mogadischu, Somalia - May 01: A rusted wheelbarrow, filled with garbage, stands on the beach of Mogadishu on May 01, 2017 in Mogadischu, Somalia. (Photo by Inga Kjer/Photothek via Getty Images)
BAYWALK, MANILA, NATIONAL CAPITAL REGION, PHILIPPINES - 2016/08/10: This man bravely walks the garbage infested shoreline of bay walk to scavenge trash in exchange for money. Manila bay is one of the most polluted shoreline of the Philippines. It was left neglected leaving garbage and oil-spills to pollute this part of the ocean. (Photo by George Buid/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Fish market morning in Saint_Louis when the canoes arrive loaded with fish from the Atlantic ocean to sell it. (Photo by: Dani Salv��/VW PICS/UIG via Getty Images)
A damaged truck sits in a sea of plastic at a scrap yard near the town of Palo after Typhoon Haiyan hit the east coast of the Philippines, on November 20, 2013. The Philippines has received loan pledges totalling one billion dollars to help rebuild areas ravaged by super Typhoon Haiyan, after the World Bank matched an Asian Development Bank offer. AFP PHOTO/Mark RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
plastic bottles and other garbage washed up on a beach in the county of cork, Ireland. (Photo by: Education Images/UIG via Getty Images)
Rubbish litter pollution on Botafogo beach near the marina, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by In Pictures Ltd./Corbis via Getty Images)
Rubbish litter pollution on Botafogo beach near the marina, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by In Pictures Ltd./Corbis via Getty Images)
Volunteers remove rubbish washed ashore along the coastline of freedom island in Paranaque City, suburban Manila on June 8, 2013 during a coastal clean-up drive as part of the program on World Ocean Day. Freedom Island or the Las Pinas- Paranaque Critical Habitat and Ecotourism Area (LPPCHEA) has been declared a bird sanctuary by the government. AFP PHOTO / TED ALJIBE (Photo credit should read TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)
BUNAKEN, INDONESIA - JANUARY 11: A polluted beach on the island of Bunaken near Manado, Indonesia, pictured on January 11, 2013. (Photo by Thomas Koehler/Photothek via Getty Images)
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Consuelo Rosauro, the regional government’s director-general for the natural environment, said the “presence of plastics in seas and oceans is one of the biggest threats to the conservation of wildlife in the world.”

“Many animals get trapped in the rubbish or ingest great quantities of plastics which end up causing their death,” she added. “The Murcia region is no stranger to this problem that we must tackle by way of clean-up actions and, above all, awareness of citizens.”

An estimated 19 billion pounds of plastic waste ends up in the world’s oceans each year. In 2017, researchers predicted that annual figure would double by 2025 if swift action was not taken.

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.

Related: Incredible shots of underwater life 

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Google maps ocean view

Inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1978 and situated in the Pacific Ocean some 1,000 km from the South American continent, these 19 islands and the surrounding marine reserve are referred to as a unique ‘living museum and showcase of evolution’. Located at the confluence of three ocean currents, the Galápagos are a ‘melting pot’ of marine species, this dive features the playful Galapagos sea lions by Isla Campion (Champion Island).

(Image collect by Catlin Seaview Survey in partnership with Charles Darwin Foundation and Galapagos National Park via Google)

Raja Ampat is Indonesia’s most easterly province and has earned its reputation as the world epicentre of marine biodiversity. At Cape Kri the tremendous amount of fish life is dominated by dogtooth tuna, giant trevallies, and chevron barracuda. The coral growth here is equally fantastic, with numerous hard and soft varieties.

(Image collect by Catlin Seaview Survey via Google)

The whole 2 million square kilometre exclusive economic zone of the Cook Islands is a designated whale sanctuary. During May and October every year the Humpback Whales arrive in the Cook Islands. They are migrating north to South Pacific waters from their summer feeding grounds of Australia, New Zealand, and the cool Antarctic Ocean. They use these warmer waters to mate, give birth and to rest.

(Image collect by Catlin Seaview Survey via Google)

The USAT Liberty was a 120m long ex-American cargo ship which now rests just off a rocky Tulamben beach in the northeast of Bali. The Liberty was torpedoed by a Japanese sub in the Lombok Strait in 1942 but wasn't sunk, it made it to Tulamben where it remained beached until 1963. When Mt Agung erupted in 1963 the associated earth tremours pushed the vessel out into the sea where it rests today. The coral covered wreck is one of Bali's most popular dives and it provides habitat for all manner of marine creatures.

(Image collect by Catlin Seaview Survey via Google)

American Samoa is a string of seven remote islands in the South Pacific, 2,500 miles south of Hawaii. There are extensive coral reefs here, rich in marine life. This virtual dive, within the National Park of American Samoa, starts as a half-in / half-out and then dives underwater for a virtual tour of the reef.

(Image collect by Catlin Seaview Survey via Google)

Shelley Beach is a protected marine area (part of Cabbage Tree Bay) which was declared a "No Take" Aquatic Reserve in 2002. Since being listed as a protected area local scuba divers and snorklers say they are seeing an increase in marine creatures here - a great observation.

(Image collect by Catlin Seaview Survey via Google)

This sheltered reef near the island of Mayreau is in the Tobago Cay Marine Park (TCMP). The park was established in 1997 to preserve the reefs that serve as a foraging ground and refuge for reef fish and juvenile turtles. The reef here is unique because it grows along an underwater hot spring.

(Image collect by Catlin Seaview Survey via Google)

The Yongala Shipwreck is a 110m former steel passenger and freight steamer which sank in 1911 during a tropical cyclone with 124 passengers onboard. The wreck lies at a depth of 33 metres and is constantly included on 'top 10 lists' for best dives in the world. The site has a strong current running over it which attracts a lot of marine life.

(Image collect Catlin Seaview Survey via Google)

Spinner Dolphins are small dolphins famous for their spinning, acrobatic aerial displays. During the day these creatures rest in the shallow bays of Fernando de Noronha and then move into deeper waters around dusk to hunt.

(Image collect by Catlin Seaview Survey via Google)

The Devil's Crown is located off the northeast shore of Floreana Island, Galapagos.

(Image collect by Catlin Seaview Survey in partnership with Charles Darwin Foundation and Galapagos National Park via Google)

The Mary Celeste was a paddle steamer which sunk in 1864 after being used to run ammunitions and supplies to the Confederate forces during the American Civil War. The wreck sits in 55 feet of water and one of the huge paddle wheels is still clearly visible at the dive site.

(Image collect by Catlin Seaview Survey via Google)

On this virtual dive you can find a discarded boat which has sunk to the sand on the ocean floor. Over time marine larvae could potentially drift over from nearby reefs and eventually settle on the boat, turning this ocean pollution into an artifical reef.

(Image collect by Catlin Seaview Survey via Google)

Fernando de noronha has many blow holes like this one called "The Devils hole". When the tide is right, the blow hole releases air from the roof of a sub-surface cavernin a dramatic, explosive display. You can see the blow hole errupting in this virtual dive.

(Image collect by Catlin Seaview Survey via Google)

Pedras Secas is one of the iconic dive sites of Fernando de Noronha. It's an impressive dive site that attracts a lot of marine life. The volcanic rocks provide an arena-like formation that is surrounded by passages, holes, caverns, an iconic main arch and a 60 foot 'swim through' tunnel.

(Image collect by Catlin Seaview Survey via Google)

Pedras Secas is one of the iconic dive sites of Fernando de Noronha. It's an impressive dive site that attracts a lot of marine life. The volcanic rocks provide an arena-like formation that is surrounded by passages, holes, caverns, an iconic main arch and a 60 foot 'swim through' tunnel.

(Image collect by Catlin Seaview Survey via Google)

The southern-most breaking reef in Bermuda is not a coral or rock formation but made from fossilized prehistoric worms. The structure is incredibly strong and can easily withstand the strong winter storms. 

(Image collect by Catlin Seaview Survey via Google)

The Cod Hole was one of the first ever protected sites on the Great Barrier Reef thanks largely to the efforts of Ron and Valerie Taylor, who in the early 1980's witnessed the huge cod population decimated by overfishing. This reef attracts a large variety of marine life aside from the resident Potato Cods, including big Coral Trout, all varieties of shark, Minke Whales, dolphins and thousands of coral reef fish. See what else you can spot in this virtual dive on this truly world class dive site.

(Image collect Catlin Seaview Survey via Google)

Botany Bay was the site of Captain James Cook's first landing of the HMS Endeavour on the continent of Australia in 1770. They called the site "Stingray Bay" originally as the area was so full of the creatures. Bare Island is found on the northern edge of Botany Bay - while you won't find any stingrays on this virtual dive you might be able to spot a tiny, bright nudibranch.

(Image collect by Catlin Seaview Survey via Google)

Botany Bay was the site of Captain James Cook's first landing of the HMS Endeavour on the continent of Australia in 1770. They called the site "Stingray Bay" originally as the area was so full of the creatures. Bare Island is found on the northern edge of Botany Bay - while you won't find any stingrays on this virtual dive you might be able to spot a tiny, bright nudibranch.

(Image collect by Catlin Seaview Survey via Google)

Whale sharks, the world's largest living species of fish, can be found in the waters that surround Isla Contoy throughout the Mexican wet season (June - September). These huge sharks are incredibly docile and harmless, they congregate in the area to feed on plankton that blooms at this time of year.

(Imagery collect by Catlin Seaview Survey via Google)

Conception Island has historical significance as one of the first landfalls of Columbus in the New World. The uninhabited island is located on a platform that rises out of the deep ocean 15 miles east of Santa Maria, Long Island. Under the water, there is an abundance of healthy coral and marine life.

(Image collect by Catlin Seaview Survey via Google)

Roche Saint Nicholas lies at the feet of the iconic Oceanographic Museum of Monaco. The museum was established by Prince Albert I in 1910 and later managed by the most famous underwater explorer of them all, Jacques Yves Cousteau.

(Imagery collect by Catlin Seaview Survey in partnership with Oceanographic Museum of Monaco and Prince Albert II Foundation via Google)

In 2009 Jason deCaires Taylor began placing his pH neutral sculptures onto the seafloor of Isla Mujeres and Cancun which is now known as the Cancun Underwater Museum.

(Image collect by Catlin Seaview Survey via Google)

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(Image collect by Catlin Seaview Survey via Google)

The Florida International University manages the Aquarius Reefbase which is a fantastic underwater habitat utilized by marine biologists and astronauts for research and training purposes. In August 2014 the Catlin Seaview Survey team visited Aquarius whilst surveying the reefs around the Florida Keys.

(Image collect by Catlin Seaview Survey via Google)

The Florida International University manages the Aquarius Reefbase which is a fantastic underwater habitat utilized by marine biologists and astronauts for research and training purposes. In August 2014 the Catlin Seaview Survey team visited Aquarius whilst surveying the reefs around the Florida Keys.

(Image collect by Catlin Seaview Survey via Google)

Anguilla is a small island nation in the Caribbean Sea, 10 miles north of Saint Martin. The Shoal Bay Harbour Reef System is one of seven marine parks in the country. Take a virtual dive amongst the numerous sea fans.

(Image collect by Catlin Seaview Survey via Google)

On the UNESCO World Heritage list since 1981 the Great Barrier Reef is an icon of the natural world. The area contains the world’s largest collection of coral reefs, with 400 types of coral, 1,500 species of fish and 4,000 types of mollusc. It also holds great scientific interest as the habitat of threatened species such as the dugong (‘sea cow’) and the large green turtle. This collection focuses on the reef around Heron Island, walk in from the shore, explore the reef and keep an eye out for some green turtles.

(Image collect by Catlin Seaview Survey via Google)

Dwarf Minke Whales travel through the Great Barrier Reef each winter where specialist dive operators and researchers wait to meet them. In 2014 the Catlin Seaview Survey team joined a Mike Ball expedition to track the whales.

(Image collect by Catlin Seaview Survey via Google)

Wilson Island is an important turtle and bird rookery fringed by a white coral beach and covered with pisonia forest. From November to March, the island is home to wedge-tailed shearwaters and green turtles; from June to September, humpback whales can be seen going to and from their winter feeding grounds.

(Image collect by Catlin Seaview Survey via Google)

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