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article imageDead whale surprises swimmers at iconic Rio beach

By AFP     Nov 15, 2017 in World

The decomposing body of a dead humpback whale surprised swimmers when it washed up on Rio de Janeiro's iconic Ipanema beach Wednesday.

Curious onlookers approached a cordon to take photographs of the humpback, whose 14-meter (45 feet) long carcass gave off a putrid stench as it lay exposed to the sun.

Some touched its jaw bones, which had come loose and lay on the damp sand.

Some touched its jaw bones  which had come loose and lay on the damp sand
Some touched its jaw bones, which had come loose and lay on the damp sand
Leo Correa, AFP

Rafael Carvalho, a marine mammal biologist at the State University of Rio de Janeiro, told AFP: "It is not possible to know what happened, it is in an advanced state of decomposition and that makes it difficult to know the cause of death."

Carvalho is part of a team that is dedicated to removing beached whales, a relatively common phenomenon in the area because Rio lies along their migration path.

The body will be removed in a truck and then buried for sanitary reasons, he added.

"I've never seen one so close, I would have liked to have had the chance to save it," mused Mauro Azevedo, a 62-year-old Rio resident.

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