A humpback whale was found beached near the Amazon. Why that’s shocking scientists in Brazil

A humpback whale was found beached near the Amazon. Why that's shocking scientists in Brazil

Feb. 26, 2019– Mary Greeley News – The animal should have migrated south to Antarctica.

A 36-foot-long humpback whale was found washed ashore in the Amazon river in Brazil and the country’s scientists are stumped about how it got there.

For starters, it was found several days after it had died, according to researchers. It was also found meters from the shore. Researchers are baffled about why the animal was swimming so close to shore in the first place.

“We’re still not sure how it landed here, but we’re guessing that the creature was floating close to the shore and the tide, which has been pretty considerable over the past few days, picked it up and threw it inland, into the mangrove,” a conservation specialist and project leader from the Bicho D’agua Institute said.

Marine biologists believe it’s a 12-month calf and weighs 10 tons. It was found in a jungle undergrowth on the island of Marajo, which sits at the mouth of the Amazon River, about 50 meters from the shore.

A humpback whale was found beached near the Amazon. Why that's shocking scientists in Brazil

Odder, however, is that the whale was there in the first place. The scientists who found it say it was more than 6,000 kilometers away from its feeding grounds. This suggests the mammal died and was taken by the very heavy tides in the region.

Renata Emin, a marine specialist, told Brazilian news site O Liberal: “We’re still not sure how it landed here, but we’re guessing that the creature was floating close to the shore and the tide, which has been pretty considerable over the past few days, picked it up and threw it inland, into the mangrove.

“Along with this astonishing feat, we are baffled as to what a humpback whale is doing on the north coast of Brazil during February because this is a very unusual occurrence.”

The Municipal Secretariat of Health, Sanitation and Environment (SEMMA) is investigating why the mammal was so far away from its natural habit at this time of the year.

A humpback whale was found beached near the Amazon. Why that's shocking scientists in Brazil

“We believe this is a calf which may have been traveling with its mother and probably got lost or separated during the migratory cycle between the two continents,” Emin said.

Dirlene Silva, a spokesperson from SEMMA, told Brazilian media that they found the whale after it caught the attention of scavenger birds.

“The vultures were spotted circling above the carcass, which was found hidden in the bush some distance from the sea,” Silva said, according to The Mirror.

A humpback whale was found beached near the Amazon. Why that's shocking scientists in Brazil

An autopsy to determine the whale’s cause of death is expected to take 10 days.

Lastly, biologists think it’s highly unusual for any whales to be in the region of northern Brazil in February. The animals would have all migrated south to Antarctica.

Mary Greeley News
www.marygreeley.com

credit: In part with https://www.newsweek.com/dead-whale-amazon-rainforest-jungle-1342253

A humpback whale was found beached near the Amazon. Why that’s shocking scientists in Brazil