Facebook | Bicho D'água

Humpback Whale Mysteriously Discovered In Amazon Jungle

When we think of whales, we often picture something powerful and majestic making its way through the waves. And since we're just imagining it, we're probably picturing it leaping from the water like Free Willy.

However, not even something as massive and powerful as a whale can last forever. And while it's always sad to see one meet its end, the circumstances in which one of these creatures fell will inspire as many question marks as tears.

On Friday, officials in Brazil saw evidence that something large had died in the jungles of the Amazon island of Marajo.

Reddit | Gragabal

As The Daily Mail reported, Dirlene Silva from Brazil's department of health, sanitation and environment said the only clue they had that something strange was happening was a group of vultures circling the area.

The team had a difficult time reaching the area the vultures were hanging around, but they made a strange discovery once they got there.

Reddit | AlyssonFromBrazil

In the middle of this wooded area was the body of a 36-foot humpback whale that was only about 12-months-old. The team suspected it had become tangled in the mangroves, but found no clear signs of injury.

Naturally, they were curious to know how this whale had managed to get to the mangrove, which was about 50 feet from the ocean.

Reddit | Bicho D'água

To help solve not only that mystery, but to determine the whale's cause of death, the team called for backup.

As The Daily Mail reported, they reached out to biologists from a non-governmental organization called Bicho D'agua Institute.

Unsplash | Francesco Ungaro

Hopefully, with the help of a team of marine experts, they could untangle the whale, and the situation.

As if there weren't enough tough questions to answer here, they also had to figure out what the whale was doing in the area in the first place.

Reddit | kevves

According to Renata Emin, a marine specialist and the president of Bicho D'agua, humpback whales aren't usually found on Brazil's north coast in February, and instead use the northeast coast as a breeding area on their way to Antarctica between August and November.

In an Instagram post, Bicho D'agua shared the process of their investigation.

Instagram | @bicho_dagua

They explained how the "team [is] collecting biological samples of the humpback whale," likely for tests that will assist in narrowing down the possibilities.

In addition to samples, they also took measurements while maneuvering the tough landscape it was found in.

Instagram | @bicho_dagua

According to another Instagram post, the whale was "about one year old and 8 m in length," but not "as large as it seems in the pictures."

For now, all the team seems to have is a working theory about what happened.

Facebook | Bicho D'água

This theory suggests that the calf was separated from its mother during migration and wandered up to the north coast.

There, they believe that it died at sea.

Unsplash | Maxwell Ridgeway

Once it passed, the rough seas and high waves threw it hard enough from the sea that it landed in the swampy mangrove.

However, the real challenge lying ahead for Bicho D'agua will be figuring out the cause of death.

Facebook | Bicho D'água

They'll need an autopsy to know what happened to the whale, but they'll have to do this without moving it because of its size and the treacherous conditions in the mangrove.

So, they're examining it as much as they can within the next 10 days.

Facebook | Bicho D'água

They also plan to open the whale up to collect parasite samples and inspect any evidence they can glean from its muscles.

The hope is that analysis of this material will tell them whether it was caught in a net, swallowed too much plastic, was hit by a boat, or died from a disease.

Unsplash | Louis Reed

Whatever the case, internal investigation is a significant part of deciphering this unique situation.

But the biggest complication in the way of this autopsy is the fact that the whale had already been lying there for days.

Facebook | Bicho D'água

As Emin said, "Depending on the state of decomposition, some information may already have been lost."

After they've examined it to their satisfaction, the whale will likely be buried.

Instagram | @bicho_dagua

Once it's skeleton can be excavated, it can be sent to Brazil's Goeldi Natural History Museum for further study.

Until then, though, this amazing team continues to work hard at solving for a solution.

h/t: The Daily Mail