Humpback Whale Trapped In Crocodile-Infested Waters After Taking ‘A Wrong Turn’
A group of humpback whales have ended up trapped in crocodile-infested waters after getting a bit mixed up with directions.
The whales, spotted in the East Alligator River in Australia’s Northern Territory, were first noticed by a group who had been out fishing at the World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park. This is the first known instance in Australia of whales ending up in crocodile territory so far inland.
Two of the whales were thankfully able to swim out of the river and away from the crocodiles. However, it’s thought that at least one whale remains there. Australian officials will now reportedly try to guide the whale to safety.
Check out footage from the National Park here:
Marine ecologist Jason Fowler had been fishing with friends on his yacht on September 2 when they were greeted by the surprising sight.
Fowler told ABC News Australia:
I noticed a big spout a big blow on the horizon and I thought that’s a big dolphin.
[…] We were madly arguing with each other about what we were actually seeing. After four hours of raging debate we agreed we were looking at humpback whales in a river.
According to the Kakadu National Park, an exclusion zone has been implemented within the park, and the situation is being monitored.
Kakadu National Park is now working alongside government authorities to pull together data on this ‘unusual event’, with an expert working group having been established to monitor the whale and plan for an intervention, if needs be.
An exclusion zone has been established from the mouth of the river up to around 30km upstream, with authorities looking to protect the welfare of the whale and the safety of those who may have been planning to head to the area by boat.
Kakadu National Park is looking to avoid the whale potentially colliding with a boat ‘in waters where crocodiles are prevalent and visibility underwater is zero’. There are also fears that a boat could accidentally force the whale to travel further up the river.
Kakadu National Park said:
The whale is not in distress at the moment and it is not an emergency situation. The best case scenario is for the whale to make its way back out to sea. Kakadu National Park and NT Government scientists will continue to monitor the whale in the coming days.
We appreciate that this is a very unusual and exciting event, however, our priority at present is to ensure the safety and wellbeing of visitors and the whale.
The whale itself is thought to be around 16m (52ft) in length, and experts believe it’s unlikely that crocodiles will confront it.
However, dangers could arise should the whale become stranded in the shallows, with marine ecosystems scientist Carole Palmer suggesting this could result in the whale becoming an ‘easy feed’.
Experts believe the whales had been embarking on an annual sea migration when some of them ‘took a wrong turn’, leaving them trapped with the crocodiles.
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