Swamped Whale Found in Brazil
Written by Intern Aaron on February 28, 2019
In a north-eastern part of Brazil on Marajó, member of the conservation group Bicho D’Água had found a humpback whale dead on the shores of a remote swamp in the Amazon River.
Source: The Guardian
According to Bicho D’Água, the whale should have migrated thousands of miles towards Antarctica at this time of year, however the young calf was found dead on Friday after the conservationists had followed a group of scavenging birds circling over head. The whale had measured in at twenty-six feet (eight meters) in length, being found in thick shrubs and brushes.
Renata Emin, the president of Bicho D’Água tells local media, “We imagine it was floating and the tide took it into the mangroves. The question is, what is a humpback whale doing in the month of February on the northern coast of Brazil? It’s unusual.”
A group of biologists had begun examination of the corpse and are expecting to deliver the postmortem report within the next ten days. “We are collecting information, identifying marks on the body, to determine if it was trapped by a net or hit by a boat,” Emin said.
Some members of Bicho D’Água theorize that the whale might have been separated from its mother and forced ashore by the strong tides of a passing storm. Other researchers speculate that the calf might have swum towards the shore looking for food, ingesting plastic along the way and suffocating because of it.
Government officials relay the information to reporters stating that the whale had, indeed, been dead for several days. However, due to it’s large size, and inconvenient location, are unable to entirely remove the whale.
The director of Sea Watch Foundation, Peter Evans, said that incidents like these are rare. Humpbacks were often found in the coastal waters and were known to migrate great distances. They often breed around the equator and then migrate towards Antarctica to feed.
Evans states the following, “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. The idea that it was killed by ingesting plastic would need some evidence first to support it. It seems to me more likely that it simply starved to death. If they do a postmortem examination, we will have a clearer idea.”