Mystery over humpback whale found in Amazon rainforest

Home / Mystery over humpback whale found in Amazon rainforest

Animal experts were left perplexed after the carcass of a juvenile Humpback whale was discovered inland, in a remote mangrove swamp near the mouth of the Amazon river.

The animal, measuring 36ft (11 metres), was hidden in the undergrowth a short distance from the shoreline in the forest of the northern Brazilian state of Para. It took two separate attempts by workers from the department of health, sanitation and environment (Semma) to reach the whale, which was only discovered because of the scavenging birds circling overhead.

Conservationists from the Bicho d’Agua Institute, who were also present, believe the humpback whale to be a 12 month-old calf that got separated from its mother, before being launched ashore by high tides during a storm.

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Conservationists say it highly unusual for a humpback to be on the north coast of Brazil, let alone in the spot where it was found

Renata Emin PhD, the project leader from the institute, said: "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."

With no discernible wounds, tissue samples from the whale are being tested to determine how it died, but some details regarding its short life and mysterious death may have been lost to several days of decomposition and scavenging.

The Maritime Herald speculated it was possible that the humpback may have swum towards the beach in search of food and been suffocated after inhaling large amounts of plastic.

Brazil’s environmental agency told reporters that the whale would be left in the forest since there is no way that bulldozers would be able to reach the site. The skeleton will, however, be taken apart and sent to a natural history museum in the nearby city of Belem.

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