Thai conservation officials have found a dead deer with 7 kilograms (15 pounds) of plastic garbage in its stomach. It’s the latest discovery to highlight the impact of plastic waste on the country’s wildlife.
The deer was found on Monday in Khun Sathan National Park in Nan province in northern Thailand, according to the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation.
The 10-year-old wild stag was found with no external wounds or cuts, and had apparently died two days before it was found, the parks department said.
An autopsy revealed its stomach contained plastic bags including garbage bags, instant coffee packages, condiment packages, rubber gloves, towels, and even a pair of men’s underwear, according to photos posted on the DNP official Facebook page.
The animal died from gastrointestinal obstruction combined with old age, according to the department.
Kriangsak Thanompun, director of the protected region in the Khun Sathan National Park, told news agency AFP that the plastic bags were “one of the causes of his death.”
“It shows we have to take seriously and reduce … single-use plastic,” he added, calling for “nature-friendly products” to be used instead.
Earlier this year, an orphaned baby dugong who became a celebrity in Thailand died with plastic waste lining its stomach.
In June last year, a short-fin male pilot whale died after ingesting more than 17 pounds of plastic bags and packaging.
Over 50% of the plastic leaking into world oceans comes from China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam, according to a 2015 report by Ocean Conservancy and the McKinsey Center for Business and Environment.
A 65% reduction in plastic waste leakage in those five countries would lead to a 45% reduction globally, the report claims. A study by the UK government, published in 2018, showed that, barring intervention, the amount of plastic cluttering the Earth’s oceans will triple within a decade.