Giant green anaconda found dead in the Brazilian Amazon, possibly killed by gunshot


A giant anaconda has been found dead in the Brazilian Amazon, possibly killed by a gunshot wound, according to a Dutch researcher who studies snakes and recently helped discover a giant anaconda thought to be the largest in the world.

A flurry of media reports say it’s the giant anaconda that was found dead but the leader of the expedition that discovered her is refuting them.

The snake is not the same as the largest anaconda discovered in the Ecuadorian Amazon, according to professor Bryan Fry, who led a team of scientists with help from the Indigenous Huaorani people and found the anaconda while filming Pole to Pole with Will Smith,” a National Geographic series that will stream on Disney+.

“This particular specimen wasn’t one of the new species but was a southern green anaconda (Eunectes murinus),” Fry told USA TODAY Wednesday.

An underwater close-up of the northern green anaconda, a new species discovered in the Amazon's Orinoco basin.An underwater close-up of the northern green anaconda, a new species discovered in the Amazon's Orinoco basin.

An underwater close-up of the northern green anaconda, a new species discovered in the Amazon’s Orinoco basin.

Meet the northern green anaconda: New snake species said to be largest ever found

‘Magnificent creatures’: New photos show largest anaconda ever recorded

What we know about the green anaconda found dead

The snake that Fry’s team named Ana Julia was discovered in the Formoso River in the rural area of Bonito in southern Brazil, according to The Independent. It measures 26 feet across and weighed in at around 440 pounds.

On Monday, professor Freek Vonk − who was also on the team − shared in an Instagram post saying: “With enormous pain in my heart I want to let you know that the mighty big green anaconda I swam with was found dead in the river this weekend.”

“I’ve heard from several sides that she was shot to death, though there’s no official confirmation on the cause of death yet. I’m so sad and angry at the same time!” he wrote.

An update that came in late Tuesday states that “authorities have not yet found any evidence that this beautiful green anaconda was shot dead,” Vonk shared on his Instagram.

A close-up on the head of a northern green anaconda, a new species discovered in the Amazon's Orinoco basin.A close-up on the head of a northern green anaconda, a new species discovered in the Amazon's Orinoco basin.

A close-up on the head of a northern green anaconda, a new species discovered in the Amazon’s Orinoco basin.

Snake’s death is a ‘senseless tragedy’

Even if the snake killed is not the record-setter, Fry told USA TODAY that its death “is a senseless tragedy on the level of someone shooting a panda.”

“So incredibly maddening,” he said.

But Fry team’s work in the Amazon is far from done. Pollutants such as cadmium and lead have woven their way into “the delicate fabric of this ecosystem as consequences of the frequent oil spills plaguing the Yasuni Amazon,” he shared with USA TODAY last month.

Scientists hope to keep an eye on the reproduction of green anaconda species to gain greater insight into the health of the ecosystem at large.

“It’s these kinds of extremely large and old specimens that are extra vulnerable. If there is more news, I will of course share immediately,” Vonk said. “The fact that I got to spend over an hour with her at the bottom of the river remains one of my most breathtaking experiences in nature – and one I will never forget! I love you so much. I love you.”

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Giant green anaconda found dead in Brazilian Amazon, possibly shot





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