On Friday 22 February a bizarre discovery was made in Brazil. On the island of Marajó, a coastal island at the mouth of the Amazon River, a whale was found in a forested area. According to a municipal secretary of Public Health and Environment the whale was found dead. Research must reveal how the animal ended up in a forest, far from the sea. Watch video:
Humpback whale without visible injuries
The animal is an 11-meter-long humpback whale, with no visible injuries. The incident has been occupying the Brazilian news media for several days. How can a whale end up in a forested area at a considerable distance from the sea? Yet the find is not unique. In 2007, a 5.5 metre long minke whale was discovered in the Amazon, more than 1600 kilometres from the Atlantic Ocean. The animal swam into the Amazon River where it stranded on a sandbank and died.
Searching for explanations
Meanwhile, there is a widespread search for explanations. One explanation is that the whale died and then washed into the mangrove forest by an unusually high tide. Another possibility is that the animal swam into the mangrove area at high tide, where it subsequently ran aground. Whales don't live in fresh water, although they can survive there for some time. There are several examples of whales that got lost and swam into freshwater areas.