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Dead Humpback Whale Found in Amazon Jungle Baffles Scientists

Marine biologists in Brazil were stunned to discover the body of a young humpback whale on a remote island in the Amazon jungle, at a time of the year when it should have migrated 4,000 miles away, to Antarctica.

The whale’s body was found by members of the conservation group Bicho D’Água, after they spotted vultures circling a mangrove on Marajo Island, a large, forested island in northern Brazil. The marine mammal, approximately 26-feet-long, was lodged in thick shrubs and brush, about 50 feet from the shore. A team from the region’s Municipal Secretariat of Health, Sanitation, and Environment inspected the carcass and reported that it did not appear to have any visible injuries, so until officials conduct a necropsy, the cause of death remains a mystery. At this time, the two main theories are that a powerful tide launched the whale inland, or that it died at sea and was carried onto land by people.

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The Heartbreaking Story of the World’s Loneliest Whale

Having to roam the world in search of company, constantly calling out for a mate but never getting an answer sounds terrifying and sad, which is why so many around the world empathize with ’52’, the loneliest whale in the world.

The solitary whale, named after the distinctive 52 hertz frequency of its call, belongs to an unknown, unidentified species. The sound it produces is just above the lowest note on a tuba – clearly that of a whale, but one that no other whale in the world shares or recognizes. So it roams the world’s largest ocean, year after year, desperately calling out for a mate but never finding one.

Interestingly, 52 has never actually been seen; only its forlorn love songs have been picked up by navy sonar detectors, but never accompanied by another whale call. This phenomenon is so intriguing that scientists have closely been monitoring the frequency since it was first detected by William Watkins of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in 1989. He happened to be studying the mating calls of male whales in the North Pacific, when he came across the anomaly of 52.

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Real-Life Moby Dick – Migaloo, the World’s Only Known All-White Humpback Whale

Whale watching in Australia has never been the same since 28 June 1991, when an all-white humpback was photographed passing Byron Bay, the country’s most easterly point. It was the first time the world witnessed the existence of a real-life Moby Dick; never before had anyone heard of or seen a completely spotless white humpback whale anywhere else on Earth.

The incredibly rare creature was soon christened ‘Migaloo’, which is an indigenous Australian word meaning ‘white fella’. Since then, he has been spotted traveling up and down the east coast of Australia at least 50 times. As he migrates up from Antarctica to the warmer waters of Tropical North Queensland every year, his arrival is eagerly awaited by locals and tourists alike.

During this year’s migration in June, Australian photographer Ray Alley managed to capture a few stunning pictures of Migaloo off the coast of Nelson Bay in NSW. Alley had been trying to get images of the humpback for the past nine years and his hard work finally paid off. Migaloo stopped for a rare display of showmanship on his way through Nelson Bay, a moment that Alley describes as the ‘holy grail’ in his 27-year career.

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