On Friday, marine biologists from the Bicho D’Água conservation group in Brazil discovered a young humpback whale washed ashore on a remote, forested island on the Amazon River. It wasn’t lying on the riverbank though, as might be expected, but lodged in the thick shrubs and brush about 50 feet from the shore — and during a time of year when most humpbacks have already migrated to Antarctica. The whale was about 26 feet long, and had been dead for more than several days.
Renate Emin, president of Bicho D’Água, told the Brazilian news site G1, “We imagine it was floating and the tide took it into the mangrove. The question is, what was a humpback whale doing in the month of February on the northern coast of Brazil? It’s unusual.” The marine biologists are examining the whale to determine its cause of death, and awaiting the results of a necropsy.
“We are collecting information,” said Emin, “identifying marks on the body, to determine if it was trapped in a net or hit by a boat.” While they won’t know for sure until next week, it’s believed that the whale had been detached from its mother before it died. As reported by The Guardian, according to Peter Evans, director of the Sea Watch Foundation, “This calf probably got separated from its mother, maybe its mother had died, in the southern summer, and then wandered about trying to find food.”