A pilot whale has died off southern Thailand after swallowing 80 plastic bags.

Rescuers tried to save the whale after he was found in a canal in Songkhla province, near the border with Malaysia, the country’s department of marine and coastal resources said.

The whale vomited five bags as conservation officials attempted to nurse it back to health through the week, but the whale finally died on Friday afternoon (1 June).

According to the department, an autopsy revealed 80 plastic bags weighing up to 8kg in the stomach of the whale, which had made it impossible for it to eat food.

Thailand is one of the world’s largest users of plastic bags and its government last month announced it was considering a levy on them.

Local experts said that at least 300 marine animals including pilot whales, sea turtles and dolphins perished every year in Thai waters after ingesting plastic.

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