Researchers are having a whale of a time trying to figure out how a humpback whale wound up in the Amazon rain forest.
The whale, believed to be a calf, was found on Friday on the Brazilian island of Marajo. It was about 50 feet from the ocean, according to Newsweek.
Darlene Silva, a spokeswoman for Brazil’s Department of Health, Sanitation and Environment, told reporters the animal was found in a mangrove swamp only after researchers noticed vultures circling in the sky, according to the Express.
Biologists from the Bicho D’água Institute said the animal was about 26 feet long, though local officials said it was closer to 36 feet long, according to Storyful.
A team from the Municipal Secretariat of Health, Sanitation and Environment found the carcass had no visible injuries and theorized that the whale died at sea.
HuffPost reached out to the Bicho D’água Institute, which did not immediately respond but said in a Facebook post that the animal was “not as big as it looks in the images.”
Renata Emin, the institute’s project leader, told reporters that researchers don’t know how the animal washed up so far from the beach, but they guessed that the creature was floating close to the shore and was carried inland by a storm, according to the Independent.
Emin added that the find is extra baffling since the presence of a humpback whale off Brazil in February is “very unusual” and they are rarely seen that far north.
Researchers are collecting carcass samples, but Silva said there will be no attempts to remove it from its final resting spot.
“It’s very difficult to get there and there’s no way we can send a bulldozer because it would not get through,” she said, according to the Independent. “There is no way to remove it. To get there, we need to cross the swamp.”