Biologists were baffled to discover the body of a humpback whale being picked by vultures in the midst of trees and shrubbery in Brazil’s Amazon jungle last week.
The sea creature, which is roughly 26 feet long, was found dead about 50 meters from the shore of Araruna Beach, the Brazilian nonprofit Bicho D’água Institute says.
According to the biologists, the whale is a juvenile, probably no more than a year old. It weighs about four tons.
A team from the region’s Municipal Secretariat of Health, Sanitation, and Environment (SEMMA) was alerted to investigate the incident. Marine experts with Bicho D’água believe a powerful tide may have launched the whale inland.
“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,” Renata Emin, a marine specialist, told Brazilian news site O Liberal, according to Newsweek.
“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,” Emin continued, noting that it’s also an odd time of year for humpback whale sightings.
Officials have ventured many guesses as to what contributed to the whale’s demise — from succumbing to stress due to separation from its mother to consuming too much plastic.
Pollution is problematic for the environment and humans, but it’s especially troubling for marine life.
Believe it or not, it is not the first time a whale has turned up in the Amazon region.
In 2007, a 5.5-metre minke whale was freed — and later died — after becoming stranded on a sandbar near the Brazilian city of Santarem, about 1,600 kilometres from the Atlantic Ocean.
It is believed the animal made its way up the region’s river system before becoming beached.
Experts said the whale probably became disoriented among the many river branches that form the broader Amazon.
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