A team from Wakatobi National Park found about 6kg of garbage inside the stomach of a dead whale that had beached on Kapota Island, Southeast Sulawesi.
The team, assisted by researchers from the Academy of Marine and Fisheries Community in Wakatobi, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and locals, identified the animal as a sperm whale.
The carcass was 9.5m long and 4.37m wide, according to a release from the Environment and Forestry Ministry made available on Tuesday (Nov 20).
The head of the park, Heri Santoso, said when his team found the whale on Sunday (Nov 18), it had already begun to decompose.
A tweet from the WWF explained that due to its condition, the team could not confirm whether the garbage had been the cause of the whale's death.
The body will be buried on Tuesday on Kolowawa Beach in North Kapota village, he said.
Researchers opened the animal's stomach and found 115 plastic cups (750g), 19 hard plastic pieces (140g), four plastic bottles (150g), 25 plastic bags (260g), six wood splinters (740g), two rubber sandals (270g), one nylon sack (200g) and more than 1,000 pieces of plastic rope (3,260g).
The total weight of the wet garbage was 5.9kg.
A picture from WWF of the stomach's content showed that the whale had even swallowed what looked like a piece of a melamine dining plate.