A humpback whale has become stranded in crocodile-infested river in Australia.
The whale swam into the river in Kakadu National Park after it apparently got lost during migration. Since then, park staff have been closely monitoring the whale, which seems to be stuck.
The park described the status of the whale in a post on Facebook on Friday:
An exclusion zone has been put in place in Kakadu National Park, after three humpback whales entered the East Alligator…
“As far as we’re aware, this is the first time this has happened,” it said.
“We are monitoring the situation and working with NT government authorities to gather data on this unusual event, and an expert working group has been set up to monitor the whale and prepare plans for intervention if required.
“The last thing we want is a collision between a boat and whale in waters where crocodiles are prevalent and visibility underwater is zero. We also don’t want boats to inadvertently force the whale further up the river.
“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.”
Saltwater crocodiles are known to inhabit most bodies of water within the park. These saltwater crocs are massive, powerful predators. With the largest males growing up to 20 ft and weighing in at more than 2,000 pounds, they are the largest reptile species in the world.
However, experts do not expect a confrontation between the two species.
UPDATE: The whale successfully managed to swim out of the river and into the gulf.