The Whale Entanglement Team of California recently came to the rescue of a young but large humpback whale that was in distress and caught in a crab net.
Several people on a whale watching boat noticed that something wasn’t right with the whale and determined that it was in distress. They notified the rescue team and watched as the whale struggled to free himself from the net in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.
The rescue team determined that the 300-lb crab net had fallen on top of the whale and was weighing it down, making it hard for him to move and surface properly. They worked hard to free the whale from the net but were unable to do so before sundown.
The rescue team attached a tracking device to the whale and returned to shore at dark. The next morning they were able to cut the net so the whale could somewhat free himself. The 25-foot humpback whale had also become entangled in a cord that was attached to the crab trap.
Abandoned fishing gear is one of the many reasons trash is a problem for our ocean: http://t.co/mk7sR8nKTv
— Ocean Conservancy (@OurOcean) May 18, 2014
The rescue workers were able to untangle the whale’s tale from the cord and watched as he moved freely through the water upon his release.
Unfortunately, the team was not able to remove the entire net from the whale before he swam out to sea. Several other organizations helped them monitor the whale as he swam over 684 nautical miles away from the spot where he was first spotted.
Eventually, the team caught up to the humpback whale near the Santa Barbara Channel. They removed the rest of the trap and freed the whale.
Watch and RT this amazing rescue of a young humpback whale whose tail was entangled with fishing gear! http://t.co/Ng5sQJ5lD7
— SeaWorld (@SeaWorld) May 17, 2014
We are proud to be a part of the Whale Entanglement Team (W.E.T.) & work with such amazing people.... http://t.co/lXdmqK0gfp
— Marine Life Studies (@MLSNewsSplash) May 17, 2014
The humpback whale was injured from the net cutting into his skin, but he is expected to make a full recovery.
"They have a remarkable ability to heal. It wouldn't have made it if we didn't remove the rope," rescuer Peggy Stap said.
The rescuers are confident that the wounds the whales suffered during his rescue are minor and they are no longer monitoring him. The entire rescue took 17 days.
Image via Wikimedia Commons