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Record number of humpback whales have been found dead on Brazilian coast in 2010

October 14, 2010 |  8:11 pm

Humpback Whale

SAO PAULO — Marine scientists say a record number of humpback whales have been found dead on the Brazilian coast this year.

Milton Marcondes of the Humpback Whale Institute says at least 75 have died in 2010. The previous high was 41 in 2007.

Marcondes says most died at sea and their carcasses washed ashore. Some beached while still alive and perished.

Marcondes said Wednesday that the deaths reflect a higher mortality rate.

Scientists are investigating whether disease may be a factor, or if warming oceans may be diminishing the supply of krill that whales eat.

Humpbacks travel from Antarctica to warmer Brazilian waters to reproduce between July and November.

Seven non-humpback whales have also been found dead this year.

RELATED MARINE MAMMAL NEWS:
Humpback whale's unusual migration is believed to be a record-breaker
Researchers find 'shocking' levels of metal contaminants in the bodies of sperm whales

-- Associated Press

Photo: A humpback whale (not one of those that died in Brazil) dives off the shores of Provincetown, Mass. Credit: Don Emmert / AFP/Getty Images

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