November 2nd 2008
Wighty Houdini croc dead
In astonishing news just to hand from the Envirnomental Protection Authority (EPA), we have learnt that the crocodile, which drew nation-wide attention to Magnetic Island after a three week stay in our waters and a massive effort to humanely recapture him, has died.
According to an EPA release, "The crocodile caught at Magnetic Island on Friday died yesterday as a result of the ingestion of a large number of plastic bags.
"A necropsy (autopsy on an animal) carried out this morning found 25 plastic shopping and garbage bags, a plastic wine cooler bag and a rubber float in its stomach.
"Because the material had compacted solidly in its stomach it was unable to digest food.
"EPA biologists believe that no animal would have survived with that amount of material compacted in its stomach.
"There was evidence that the plastic bags had accumulated over time."
The croc had become known to locals as Wighty Houdini but an EPA spokesperson told Magnetic Times that his stomach was "absolutely full" of plastic bags.
According to journalist Sharon Jacobsen, Every year, around 500 billion plastic bags are used worldwide - about one million bags per minute.
It is estimated that every man, woman and child on Earth uses 83 plastic bags every year.
Plastic bags are difficult to recycle and most end up on landfill sites where they can take 300 years to break down.
Recently there have been press reports of a "plastic soup" of waste floating in the Pacific Ocean which is growing at an alarming rate and now covers an area twice the size of the continental United States.
The enormous swirling mass is contained by oceancurrents and starts about 500 nautical miles off the Californian coast, stretching across the northern Pacific, past Hawaii and nearly to Japan.
The EPA had been in contact with one expert, Dr Col Limpus, a world authority on sea turtles which commonly die from plastic bag ingestion who had claimed that he had never heard of this form of death happeneing to a crocodile.
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