- The mammal washed up on Caipe beach in Sao Francisco do Conde on July 16
It’s the heartbreaking moment a beached humpback whale appears to be crying as it takes its last breath after being stranded on a beach in Brazil.
The magnificent marine mammal washed up on Caipe beach in Sao Francisco do Conde on July 16.
Footage taken by amazed onlookers shows how tears seemingly stream down the gentle giant’s face as if he knows he is close to death.
Tragically, marine experts reported on July 17 that the trapped whale had died, despite desperate attempts to save her.
Animals can only survive a few hours out of water, and the stranded whale was seen flashing continuously as it met a devastating end.
Projeto Baleia Jubarte – or Humpback Whale Project – vet and coordinator Gustavo Rodamilans told local media: “We tried to tow the animal three times.”
He added: “We had all the necessary equipment, a well-trained team, but the whale managed to free itself from the rope and did not let itself be towed.”
The humpback whale was first beached on Mare Island in All Saints Bay on July 8.
After being relaunched, she ran aground again on Caipe Beach on July 15.
It was put back to sea a second time with the help of volunteers and a tug, only to run aground again at a nearby location the following morning.
Gustavo told local media at the time: ‘We noticed that his fin had a dislocation or a fracture, but we can only confirm that with an x-ray.
“However, it is not possible to treat a dislocation or fracture in a whale, which makes the animal’s survival impossible.”
The Humpback Whale Project team had told local media that they were considering euthanizing the animal, but it’s unclear how it ended.
Scientists have officially dismissed the claim that the whale cried.
They say the reason for the tears was a release of oil to lubricate the whale’s eyes out of the water
Biologist Victor Bandeira explained, “There is a gland in the eyelid that produces oil to lubricate the eye and prevent dryness.
“As the whale is on land, exposed to the wind, its eyes dry out, so it produces this oil to protect the eyeball.”
Although whales don’t cry like humans would, witnesses of whale strandings around the world have reported the sheer emotion of the animals when they are stranded.
Liz Carlson, who witnessed a massive stranding of pilot whales in New Zealand in 2018, said: “They had tears in their eyes… They sounded like they were crying and making sad sounds.”
She told the BBC it had been ‘the worst night of my life’ and added: ‘You can smell the fear in the animals, they are watching you. They look at you and they have very human eyes.
In the UK this weekend, more than 50 pilot whales washed up on a beach in the Outer Hebrides.
Thousands of whales and dolphins get stranded each year for various reasons.