Humpback whales enter river in Australia

Posted by Anita Froneman on 14 September 2020

Three humpback whales have made their way into the East Alligator River in northern Australia. Two of them found their way out and into the ocean again, but the third remains in the river about 30km inland, according to the BBC.

The animals had somehow gotten themselves into the estuary that led them further up into the river.

Humpback whales enter river in Australia

The whale was spotted in an unusual territory.

The whales were spotted by Marine Ecologist Jason Fowler on a boat trip in the Kakadu National Park, Australia’s biggest national park.

‘We were completely blown away to see this, I never expected to find anything like this up a river in Kakadu. It completely floored me,’ Fowler told ABC News. ‘We think the whales were spending time in the deeper section of the river gathering up fish’, he said.

Carole Palmer, a Marine Ecosystems Scientist told BBC: ‘It’s something that’s never been recorded before – not just in the Northern Territory – but [in] Australia. It’s really, really unusual’.

The river is also home to crocodiles and although confrontations between the predators are unlikely, experts agree that it should best be avoided.

‘If the whale strands up on a sandbar or become injured somehow, that could kick start off the crocodiles, but it’s a very big 14-metre whale,’ Palmer added.

Authorities are hoping the whale will find its way back to the ocean by itself, but if not, an intervention will have to be planned. Some options mentioned include using recordings of whale calls to lure it back.

Park authorities have established a 30-kilometre exclusion zone from the river mouth in the meantime.

Image credit: Twitter

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