A team of biologists announced the discovery last week that an 8 metre humpback whale has been found washed up on the shores of the Amazon rain forest in Brazil. Everyone is asking the same question: how did it end up there?
How could a humpback whale measuring 8 metres long end up washed up in the mangroves of the Amazonian jungle? It isn’t the period for humpback whales to frequent this region. A non-profit organisation called Bicho D’água is trying to solve this mystery by sending 10 biologists to the site. Researchers discovered the animal resting on the forest floor in the island of Marajo about 15 m from the coast at the mouth of the Amazon rain forest. With no visible injuries on it’s body it is difficult to understand how this animal, which is so far from it’s natural habitat, died.
“Very unusual situation”
“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 the Brazilian news site O Liberal, according to Newsweek. The researchers highlighted their shock at discovering a humpback whale in this region in February as it is a very unusual situation.
Humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) generally frequent this region in winter from June to September while the salted water increase the fresh water rivers. During the month of February this whale is usually found 6, 000 km away to the south feeding of krill populations in the Antarctic.
Could it be a baby separated from it’s mother?
This hypothesis could explain why this whale has been found in such an unusual environment. Judging by the size of the whale, researchers have concluded it is a young whale of one year old at the very most. The whale experts suggest that this whale could have become separated from it’s mother during the migration of it’s pod to southern waters.
The young whale as a result ended up in the Amazonian basin, pushed by the tidal waters. However it is difficult to say whether the whale was already dead before it landed on the shore or it found itself stuck in the mangroves with no means of extracting itself.
This is the only hypothesis given for the time being but an autopsy will be carried out which will give researchers a better idea as to why the whale died on the shores of the Amazonian basin.