Recently discovered anaconda said to be 'largest in the world' found dead in the Amazon


A giant anaconda thought to be the largest in the world has been found dead, possibly of a gunshot wound, according to a Dutch researcher who helped discover the snake.

“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. Professor Freek Vonk shared in an Instagram post on Monday. “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!”

A group of scientists, led by professor Bryan Fry, uncovered the nearly 10 million-year-old species with help from the Indigenous Huaorani people while filming Pole to Pole with Will Smith,” a National Geographic series streaming on Disney+ and hosted by the Oscar winner.

They eventually named the snake Ana Julia. The northern green anaconda, discovered deep in the Amazon of Ecuador, measured 26 feet across and weighed in at around 440 pounds.

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.

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The latest

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.

“The cause of death is currently still being investigated, considering all possible options. So it’s also possible that she died a natural death,” he said. “However, her death has not been in vain, the global attention for her mortality has increased awareness of the fragility of nature, and that is all thanks to this exceptional animal.”

Vonk as well as Fry urge the public to remember how rare and exceptional the species is.

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.

Fry says his 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,” Fry shared with USA TODAY last month.

Fry’s team hopes to keep an eye on the reproduction of the northern green anaconda 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: Ana Julia, the world’s largest anaconda, found dead in the Amazon





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