Dead humpback whale found in Amazon rainforest leaves experts baffled

Experts are baffled as to how an 11-metre long humpback whale ended up dead in the Amazon jungle.

When a flock of vultures were spotted flying above the decomposing mammal on Friday, a group of biologists raced to the scene at the island of Marajo in Brazil's north, where the rainforest meets the ocean.

Authorities from the NGO Bicho D'aguasaid they were stumped as to how the whale, believed to be a 12-month-old calf, ended up so far from its natural habitat in the winter season.

Stunning humpback whales in the wild
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Stunning humpback whales in the wild
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 15: A Humpback whale in mid lunge, feeding on Bunker off NYC's Rockaway Beach on September 15, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Artie Raslich/Getty Images)
SEA OF CORTEZ, BAJA CALIFORNIA, MEXICO - 2015/02/20: Humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) slapping the pectoral fin on the water in the Bahia de La Paz, Sea of Cortez in Baja California, Mexico. (Photo by Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images)
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USA, Alaska, Humpback Whales (Megaptera novaengliae) sending up plumes of mist while group feeding in Chatham Strait on summer evening
(photo: Pat Hawks/Flickr)

Remarkable images captured by the marine conservationist group show the dead whale splayed out on the forest floor in the middle of a swampy mangrove, some 15 metres from the ocean.

With no definitive answer as to how it ended up there, the biologists took some samples from the whale before it deteriorated too severely in the hope it may provide some clarification.

A post shared by Bicho D'água (@bicho_dagua) on

A post shared by Bicho D'água (@bicho_dagua) on

The project's president Renata Emin speculated that the creature may have been floating close to the shore when abnormally high tides, that have plagued the area in recent weeks, picked it up and threw it inland.

"Along with this astonishing feat, we are baffled as to what a humpback whale is doing on the north coast of Brazil during February because this is a very unusual occurrence," he told local media.

He said given humpback whales usually don't travel to the north, it's likely it became separated from its pod during the during the migratory cycle.

The Maritime Herald suggested the animal may have been killed by swallowing marine plastics, before the body washed up on shore.

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