A sperm whale found dead on the coast of Murcia in southern Spain was killed by gastric shock caused by ingesting 29kg of plastic waste, authorities said.
The young male's stomach and intestines were found to contain rubbish including plastic bags, raffia sacks, pieces of nets and ropes and even a plastic jerry can, marine experts said after a post-mortem examination.
The whale, almost 10 metres in length and weighing more than six tonnes, was found dead on a beach in Cabo de Palos at the end of February.
The grim find of the cause of death has prompted Murcia's regional government to launch a campaign against the dumping of plastic waste in the ocean.
The director-general for the natural environment in the Murcian government, said plastic waste in the ocean had become one of the biggest threats to marine life around the world.