Death of a gentle giant: Heartbreaking moment beached humpback whale is seen crying as it loses battle for survival on Brazilian beach
The mammal washed up on Cape Beach in São Francisco do Conde on July 16
This is the heartbreaking moment a beached humpback whale cries as it takes its last breath after being stranded on a beach in Brazil.
The magnificent marine mammal washed up on Cape Beach in Sao Francisco do Conde on July 16.
Footage captured by stunned onlookers shows tears streaming down the face of the seemingly gentle giant as if it knew it was close to death.
Sadly, marine experts reported on July 17 that the stranded whale had died, despite desperate efforts to save it.
The animals can only survive a few hours out of water, and the beached whale was seen burning steadily as it met a devastating end.
The beach humpback continues to glow as it suffers a tragic end. Animals can survive only a few hours out of water
Projeto Baleia Jubarte – or humpback whale project – veterinarian and coordinator Gustavo Rodamilans told local media: ‘We tried to pull the animal three times.’
He added: ‘We had all the right equipment, a well-trained team, but the whale managed to break free from the rope and didn’t allow itself to be pulled.’
The humpback first washed up on Mare Island in All Saints Bay on 8 July.
After returning to the water, it again ran aground on Cape Beach on 15 July.
It was brought back to sea a second time by volunteers and a tugboat, only to wash up again nearby the next morning.
Gustavo told local media at the time: ‘We noticed that its fin has a dislocation or crack, but we can only confirm this with X-rays.
Footage captured by stunned onlookers shows tears streaming down the face of a seemingly trapped hunchback as if he knew he was close to death.
‘However, a whale’s dislocation or fracture cannot be treated and this makes the animal’s survival unlikely.’
The Humpback Whale Project team told local media that they were considering euthanizing the animal, but it was unclear how that ended up.
Scientists have officially rejected the claim that the whale was crying.
They say the cry was caused by the whale’s secretion of oil to lubricate its eyes while out of water.
Biologist Victor Bandera explains: ‘The eyelid contains a gland that produces oil to lubricate the eye and prevent dryness.
‘As the whale is on land, exposed to the air, its eyes dry out, so it produces this oil to protect the eyeballs.’
Although whales do not cry in the sense that humans do, witnesses of whale strandings around the world have reported the sheer emotion of beached animals.
Liz Carlson, who witnessed mass strandings of pilot whales in New Zealand in 2018: ‘They had tears in their eyes… they looked like they were crying and they were making sad sounds.’
He told the BBC it was ‘the worst night of my life’ and added: ‘You can feel the fear in the animals, they’re looking at you. They see you and their eyes are human.’
In the UK this weekend, more than 50 pilot whales were stranded on a beach in the Outer Hebrides.
Thousands of whales and dolphins beach themselves every year for various reasons.