The huge cetacean took a wrong turn on its annual Antarctic migration and accidentally ended up in the murky, crocodile-infested East Alligator River.
Scientists are puzzled, never before have such sea creatures been spotted in the salty river. Nobody understands how it happened that the animals went so far into a shallow river. At least three humpback whales have been spotted in the river, two swam back to the sea of their own accord. What to do with the third colossus?
Authorities have cordoned off part of the river to avoid collisions with the humpback whale. “The water in the river is extremely cloudy. Actually you don’t see anything at all. If you are on a boat, you will only see the humpback whale when it comes to the surface, ”said marine biologist Jason Fowler in Australian media.
Up to 12 meters long
It would be two adult animals and a younger animal. The beasts are said to be between 10 and 12 meters long. That size makes it unlikely that crocodiles will attack the animal, experts say. However, should the humpback whale still swimming in the riveri strand and become weakened, it is not inconceivable that crocodiles will strike. The humpback whale has had a long journey and probably had to swim against the current for days.
The population of Australian humpback whales is said to have exploded in recent years, greatly increasing the chance of stray animals. “As a result, they also end up in unexpected places, we see that more often. But swimming so far in a murky river is bizarre and never seen before. ”
To get the beast back to sea, several options are being considered. For example, the humpback whale can be driven back by means of a continuous row of boats. Hitting the sides of the boat would deter the animal. It is also thought of spreading whale sounds underwater to lure the animal towards the open sea. Once upon a time, marine biologists in San Francisco managed to get a humpback whale out of a narrow bay. The ‘noise tactic’ was once used successfully in Tasmania.
Ⓒ Dutch Height / AFP
For the time being, the fate of the lost animal remains guesswork. “I also wonder what will happen during the nights. The humpback whale will then want to rest, but is it possible when it is surrounded by so many large crocodiles? ”Fowler wonders.
For now, the authorities are waiting to see what the animal will do. It is hoped that it will swim back to sea itself.