Biologists are trying to solve the mystery on how the carcass of a humpback whale landed up on the Araruna Beach along the Marajó Bay in Soure, Brazil. Vultures were spotted circling, and after investigation, the humpback calf was found in the bush.
According to the environmental group, Bicho D’água the sea creature weighs about 10 ton and is between 10-11 meters long. It is estimated that the humpback hound is a 12-month-old calf.
Humpback female adults grow to an average of 14.6 m (48 ft.) and male humpbacks to 13 m (42.5 ft.). They weigh between 22 to 36 tons. Although scientists cannot say for sure why the calf was found 15m (50 ft) from the shore and, what is highly unusual, why a humpback whale was doing in the north coast of Brazil during February. There are many guessed reasons for this occurrence
• The calf traveling with its mother probably got separated during the migratory cycle between the two continents.
• Floating close to the shore the calf might have been picked up by a powerful tide which launched the whale inland.
• Another theory is that the calf might have died at sea and was carried inland by people.
• Death might have been caused by stress or from consuming plastic products.
• It might have been caught in a net or hit by a boat.
It will take 10 days to complete an autopsy to determine the cause of death. Due to decomposition, this task might be difficult. However, information will be gathered by identifying marks and wounds on the body of the whale.
The scientific name of the humpback is “Megaptera” which means “larged winged.” This refers to their long flippers almost a third the length of their body.
Humpbacks have been protected since 1966 at which time they were listed as endangered. They are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. The humpback population is believed to be between 30,000-40,000 which is about 30 percent of their original population.
Humpback whale’s life expectancy is up to 80 years. They feed on plankton, small fish and shrimp-like krill.
They migrate annually from summer feeding near the poles to warmer breeding waters preparing to give birth.
Calves are nursed for almost a year and they don’t stop growing until they are 10 years old.
Humpback whales are known for their magical songs that can be heard for great distances.
According to ABC news, this is not the first time a whale was found in the Amazon rainforest. A minke whale was stranded on a sandbar near Santarem about 1000 miles from the Atlantic Ocean in 2007. The minke whale freed itself and swam to safety.
So the question remains – How does a Humpback whale land up in the Amazon jungle?