Whale strays into Amazon

Published: Saturday 15 December 2007

A five-metre minke whale strayed 1,600 km from the Atlantic Ocean and ran aground on a sandbank in the Amazon jungle's Tapajos river on November 13. Though it was spotted and freed, it did not survive.

According to Brazil's environmental regulator, Ibama, local residents first spotted the whale beached on the river's mud bank. Later, scientists from Ibama were called in to release the whale from the sand heaps into waters. The scientists followed the whale for a few hours before it disappeared from view. Boarded on speedboats and helicopters, they kept searching for the whale but later called off the search saying it swam up the Tapajos after entering the Amazon river at Marajo island. Tapajos is the tributary of the Amazon river.

The whale apparently got separated from its group in the Atlantic Ocean, off northern Brazil, and swam upstream, said scientists. The whale was in freshwaters for about 15 days, they said.

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