Scientists are baffled as to why your mom washed up in the Amazon jungle.
This humpback was found on Friday on the tropical forest floor of Marajo Island, based at the mouth of the Amazon river, following reports vultures were nipping away at the body.
It was photographed and examined by the wildlife nonprofit Bicho D’água Institute and the region’s Municipal Secretariat of Health, Sanitation, and Environment (SEMMA).
“We believe this is a calf which may have been traveling with its mother and probably got lost or separated during the migratory cycle,” Renata Emin, a marine mammal expert with Bicho D’água, told the Brazilian news site O Liberal.
“We’re still not sure how it landed here, but we’re guessing that the creature was floating close to the shore and the tide, which has been pretty considerable over the past few days, picked it up and threw it inland, into the mangrove,” she said.
Emin went on to say that humpback sightings in northern Brazil are odd at this time of year. Southern Hemisphere humpbacks tend to spend the southern summer months, for example February, feeding in warmer polar waters.
The team has collected samples from the calf to help determine its cause of death. This autopsy is estimated to take 10 days, according to Newsweek.
While the calf is too big to move, the researchers plan to eventually extract its skeleton for study at the Museu Paraense Emílio Goeldi, a natural history museum in the nearby city of Belém, according to the Independent.
Funnily enough, this isn’t the first time a whale had made its way into the jungle. Back in November 2007 a minke whale managed to get itself on an Amazon sandbank almost 1,000 miles inland of the Atlantic Ocean.
Locals were able to free the animal but sadly it was found dead days later.
The worldwide population of humpback whales is at least 80,000, with 18,000–20,000 in the North Pacific, about 12,000 in the North Atlantic and over 50,000 in the Southern Hemisphere, down from a prewhaling population of 125,000.