Segments in this Video

Whale in the Bay (03:12)


Thomas Moore travels to Sotra, Norway where he speaks a local resident about a whale swimming to shore to die. People tried to push it back out to sea, but it kept returning because it was hungry, tired, and sick. A man shot the whale to release it from pain.

Plastic Stomach (03:08)

Scientists took the whale carcass to study because it was the second Cuvier’s Beaked Whale ever in Norwegian waters. They sliced through a thin layer of blubber and opened its stomach to reveal shopping bags, food wrappers, and other forms of plastic.

Plastic on the Beach (04:02)

Environmentalist Kenneth Bruvik and Moore talk about the seriousness of plastic pollution. Plastic garbage littering a beach travels hundreds of miles and eventually breaks down into microplastics eaten by fish, which introduces it the ocean food chain; it is eventually consumed by humans.

Whale and Human History (07:05)

Scientists show and describe how a whale skeleton is broken down, cleaned, put back together, and put on display for a museum. They talk about whales in mythology, the hunting of whales, and how humans and whales are connected. Now that humans are not hunting whales, they are killing them in other ways.

Connecting with Whales (05:02)

Professor Audun Rikardsen, a marine biologist and photographer, dives with whales in Norway to photograph them. It took five hours to release one whale he found stuck in a cable. Hear audio of whales reacting to the death of the Bergen whale.

Whale Science (05:14)

Whales store oxygen in muscle. Scientists find and photograph a family of whales in the Canary Islands. They use clicks to echo-locate; their gelatinous prey has the same echo as a plastic bag so they are tricked into eating plastic.

Studying Whale Intestines (03:52)

Scientists study a porpoise that washed up on the coast of Scotland. The stomach contents of a Cuvier's beaked whale are spread out on a table to show the public how much plastic was in its stomach and how human actions can impact aquatic life. Another whale is found in Britain with four kilos of plastic in its digestive system.

Cleaning the Bay (02:42)

Bruvik gathered volunteers in Bergen to clean up trash on the shoreline and in the water. Volunteers say they feel bad about the litter and want to change. They safely dispose of the garbage.

Looking for Whales (03:23)

Bruvik and Rikardsen go out on the ocean looking for Sperm whales in northern Norway. They hear the whales breathing and see their fins come out of the water. People need to start caring about their impact on the environment because they are destroying entire ecosystems.

Museum and Music (02:28)

Three months after the whale died, the plastic is on display at the Bergen Museum. A man feels ashamed seeing it for the first time, and talks about fighting plastic pollution. A band plays instruments created from garbage for a group of people at the museum.

Political Action (03:44)

It is an election year and the Environment Minister, Vidar Helgesen, helps clean up garbage on a beach and promises government action. Directorate of Fisheries Olav Lekve talks about the cost of cleaning up people’s plastic pollution. People in Norway start cleaning up and say that it was prompted by the death of a whale.

Credits: A Plastic Whale (00:41)

Credits: A Plastic Whale

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A Plastic Whale

DVD (Chaptered) Price: $169.95
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3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



When a whale rarely seen in the North Atlantic died in a quiet cove, scientists assumed they would just salvage an unusual skeleton for the local museum. But the discovery of 30 plastic bags in its stomach made global news. Shopping bags, crisp packets and ice cream wrappers completely clogged its system. A Plastic Whale asks how the giant could have swallowed so much plastic while feeding far out to sea and a mile below the waves. What led it to confuse household rubbish for its natural food? And what does it say about the state of our oceans? Norway, where the animal died, is at the mercy of the currents, with plastic from as far away as Britain accumulating on its shore. But the whale triggered an extraordinary public response. Hundreds of volunteers joined heavy-lift helicopters and a flotilla of boats to begin a clean-up of the 60,000-mile coastline. How will whales creatures that we feel such a connection to survive in our increasingly polluted seas? And will the death of the plastic whale make a difference?

Length: 46 minutes

Item#: BVL166072

ISBN: 978-1-64481-661-5

Copyright date: ©2017

Closed Captioned

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