Scientists are stumped over how a humpback whale ended up washed ashore in a remote Brazil forest on the island of Marajó in Soure.
The giant creature was found last week, already dead, a short distance away from the Amazon River.
Conservation group Bicho D’Água posted about the finding on Facebook over the weekend, explaining the whale was about eight metres long and not yet fully grown.
Renata Emin, the president of the organization, said it was puzzled as to how the whale ended up in Brazil during this time of the year.
“The question is, what was a humpback whale doing in the month of February on the northern coast of Brazil? It’s unusual,” he told local media.
Emin said humpback whales themselves are not rare to Brazil — they are often seen off the coast during summer months. But this time of the year, they typically have migrated further south.
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What’s even more strange is that the whale was not found on a beach, but in the middle of shrubs and trees. Officials suspect that could have been due to high tidal waves spotted in the area recently.
Biologists from the Municipal Secretary of the Environment have collected some samples from the whale and are now trying to determine how it died. The carcass as no visible injuries, so biologists think it may have died while still in water.
Emin explained to Brazilian news outlet G1 that biologists suspect the young whale was separated from its mother.
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Humpback whale populations were deteriorating for several years because they were often killed for their blubber.
But the population has rebounded in recent years under protections introduced in the 1990s. According to Fisheries and Oceans Canada, there are now about 54,000 worldwide.
While the population has increased by roughly 45 per cent, it still hasn’t reached pre-whaling numbers.
The World Wildlife Foundation explains that humpbacks can be found across the globe, including off the shores of Canada, as they migrate seasonally.
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