Fury as world’s largest snake ‘Ana Julia’ that was 26ft long & as heavy as a sumo wrestler is SHOT DEAD by cruel hunters

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THE world’s largest snake that was 26ft long and as heavy as a sumo wrestler has been shot dead by cruel hunters. The 440lb northern green anaconda, named “Ana Julia”, was only discovered by scientists in the Amazon rainforest five weeks before her death. Jam PressThe world’s largest snake has been found dead after being shot by cruel hunters[/caption] Jam PressAna Julia, as she was known, was part of the recently discovered northern green anaconda species in the Amazon Rainforest[/caption] Jam PressThe beast measured 26ft long and weighed a whopping 440lbs when she was found last month[/caption] Located in remote Brazil, she was as thick as a car tyre and had a head the size of a human’s. And at the time of her discovery in February, she was believed to be the world’s biggest serpent and became adored by scientists. But she has now been found dead floating in a river, sparking outrage amongst experts. Her lifeless body was located in the Formoso River in the rural area of Bonito, in southern Brazil’s Mato Grosso do Sul State, on Sunday (Mar 24). TV wildlife presenter and Dutch biologist Professor Freek Vonk, 40, who was filmed swimming next to the enormous anaconda following her discovery, said he was “sad and angry” after hearing the news. According to wildlife filmmaker Cristian Dimitris, the dead snake is the same 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 travelled 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”. After being informed of Ana Julia’s shooting, Prof Vonk said: “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.” Prof Vonk labelled the rare snake’s death as an “enormous” blow to biodiversity. “She was the largest snake I had ever seen with my own eyes,” he added. But despite her terrifying size and capability of swallowing a human whole, the professor remembers the special experience of swimming alongside her. “I swam next to her for at least an hour,” he said. “And the intriguing thing was that she seemed completely unperturbed by my presence. “I hope the perpetrators are found and prosecuted because this kind of behaviour must be severely punished.” He added: “I understand that a large-scale police investigation is already underway at the place where she was found, let’s hope for some more clarity soon.” Prof Vonk was one of 15 scientists involved in the discovery of the northern green anaconda. Before then, only one species of green anaconda was recognised in the Amazon. The northern green anaconda’s discovery was published in a study in the scientific journal Diversity on February 16. Professor Jesus Rivas, the lead author of the study, explained that they first realised there was more than one species of green anaconda over 15 years ago. Along with his wife Dr Sarah Corey-Rivas, they started to analyse samples to look for genetic differences. Professor Rivas said: “I have been studying anacondas for 32 years so this begs the question of how many other species there are that we do not know about. “This finding humbles the mind regarding the true diversity of South America.” An investigation into Ana Julia’s death is being carried out by the Environmental Military Police. Northern green anaconda THE northern green anaconda is a recently discovered species of snake believed to be the largest in the world. A close relative to the green anaconda, the two species look so similar that even experts can’t tell them apart. But tests show that genetically, there is a five-and-a-half percent difference between the pair. Their remarkable discovery was made by scientists in the Ecuadorian Amazon in February, during filming for an upcoming National Geographic series. Scientists documented several anacondas belonging to the new species “lurking in the shallows, lying in wait for prey” as they paddled canoes down the Amazonian river system. It’s believed the snakes occupy northern South America and the Caribbean island of Trinidad. With confirmed specimens measuring up to 26 ft long, they are capable of killing and eating humans. Found in the rivers and wetlands of South America, anaconda’s are well known for their lightning speed and ability to squeeze the life out of prey by coiling around, asphyxiating them, and swallowing them whole. But as a member of the Boa family, it is a non-venomous constrictor. Nonetheless, they can still take down and feed on animals such as deer, capybara, caimans and large birds. Jam PressAna Julia’s lifeless body was located in the Formoso River in the rural area of Bonito, in southern Brazil’s Mato Grosso do Sul State, on Sunday[/caption] Jam Press/Studio Freek, AmsterdaSeveral northern green anaconda’s were found deep in remote Brazil only five weeks ago[/caption] Jam Press/Studio Freek, AmsterdaProfessor Freek Vonk, pictured with Ana Julia, was left devastated by the snake’s death[/caption]

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