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25 April 2024

A month after its discovery, the largest snake in the world was shot dead in the Amazon

Published
By dailymail

World's largest snake is 'shot dead' by 'sick' hunters in the Amazon rainforest - just a month after biologists discovered the 26ft-long anaconda

The world's largest snake discovered in February was found dead on Sunday

Experts heard that the anaconda was shot dead when it was found in a lake 

Scientists are mourning the loss of the world's largest snake named 'Ana Julia' after hearing it was 'shot dead by hunters' on Sunday in Brazil's Amazon Rainforest.

A team of 15 international biologists discovered the Northern Green Anaconda in February and determined it was a new species based on a 5.5 percent difference in its DNA compared to other anacondas.

Ana Julie's 26-foot-long lifeless body was found in the Formoso River in the rural area of Bonito in southern Brazil's Mato Grosso do Sul State.

A Dutch researcher who helped discover the snake shared he was 'sad and angry' after hearing the news and called the anaconda's killers 'sick.'

Biologist Professor Freek Vonk shared the news on Instagram, posting: 'With a lot of pain in my heart, I would like to let you know that the mighty big anaconda I swam with was found dead in the river.

'I have heard from various sources that she was shot dead, although there is still no official confirmation on the cause of death.

'I'm so sad and so angry at the same time.

'How sick do you have to be to do this to such a beautiful and unique animal?

'As far as we know, she was super healthy and still in the prime of her life, so she could have produced many offspring in the years to come.

'As there are not many of these colossal giant snakes swimming around, the blow to biodiversity is enormous.

'She was the largest snake I had ever seen with my own eyes.'

Vonk also called the discovery of the northern green anaconda a 'highlight' of his scientific career.

The biologist captured incredible footage of himself swimming with Ana Julia last month, showing the snake was as thick as a car tire - it weighed 440 pounds.

According to wildlife filmmaker Cristian Dimitris, the dead snake is the same as the one filmed swimming with Vonk.

He said: 'I compared the markings on her face, which are like fingerprints.

'It must be the most famous anaconda in the world, totally emblematic of the region.

'Images of the snake have already traveled the world.'

This was also confirmed by an anaconda specialist and researcher at the University of São Paulo, Juliana Terra, who called Ana Julia a 'symbol for the Bonito region'.

According to wildlife filmmaker Cristian Dimitris, the dead snake is the same as the one filmed swimming with Vonk.

He said: 'I compared the markings on her face, which are like fingerprints,' said Dimitris.

'It must be the most famous anaconda in the world, totally emblematic of the region.

'Images of the snake have already traveled the world.'

This was also confirmed by an anaconda specialist and researcher at the University of São Paulo, Juliana Terra, who called Ana Julia a 'symbol for the Bonito region'.

Before the discovery, only one species of Green Anaconda - also called the Giant Anaconda - had been recognized in the Amazon.

'Together with 14 other scientists from nine countries, we discovered that the largest snake species in the world, the green anaconda,' Professor Vonk said in February.
'As we all know from movies and stories about giant snakes - are actually two different species.

'The green anacondas found in the north of their range in South America - including Venezuela, Suriname, and French Guiana - appear to belong to a completely different species.

'Although they look almost identical at first glance, the genetic difference between the two is 5.5 percent and that is huge.

'To put this in perspective, humans and chimpanzees are only genetically different from each other by about two percent.'

The researchers gave the new species the Latin name Eunectes akayima, which means the Northern Green Anaconda.

At the time, the team also expressed concern about the risks the snake faces amid climate change and continued deforestation of the Amazon.

'Over a fifth of the Amazon has already disappeared, which is more than 30 times the area of the Netherlands, said

'The survival of these iconic giant snakes is inextricably linked to protecting their natural habitat.'