Malaysia: Dead dolphin may have choked on rubbish

The Star 8 Aug 16;

GEORGE TOWN: A dolphin carcass believed to have been choked on rubbish has been found along the beach off Pulau Jerejak.

Photographs of the carcass went viral yesterday, causing an uproar among netizens.

One person commented: “It’s sad. Maybe this dolphin died because it ate plastic floating on the surface, which it thought was food”.

Marine biologist Associate Professor Dr Aileen Tan of Universiti Sains Malaysia said it was common for turtles to choke on plastic rubbish thinking that they were jellyfish. Dolphins also make the same mistake.

“Now, the beaches are more severely polluted compared to the beaches four years ago.

“The stretch along Pantai Acheh is probably the dirtiest due to the presence of old fishing nets, plastic items and other types of rubbish,” she said yesterday.

However, Dr Tan said the dolphin should be dissected to confirm the cause of death.

The animal could have died consuming rubbish thrown into the sea by the people, she said.

Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) president S.M. Mohamed Idris said he was shocked by the incident.

“It’s shocking that this is happening here in a state which is promoting a cleaner, greener and safer environment.

“Penangites have a lackadaisical attitude in maintaining cleanliness,” he added.

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