entangled whale

Entangled Humpback Whale in Maui is Freed

On Monday, a rescue team helped an entangled humpback whale in Maui shed off hundreds of feet of marine debris. The mother humpback whale was traveling with her calf and male partner. They were spotted in the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary in Maui. A rescue team was called in and within hours they were able to help free her.

Whale Rescue Mission

The entangled humpback whale was first seen on Saturday by a tour vessel, Napali Explorer III. On Monday, another vessel, Trilogy V, saw the mother whale and called it in. The Pacific Islands Large Whale Entanglement Response Team was able to come to the whale’s aid. They formed a plan to remove the marine debris. The various ropes were suffocating the whale around her head and in front of her pectoral flippers.

NOAA response team used a long pole with a special knife at the end to cut the rope. After six hours of following the whale and working tirelessly to remove the rope, it was done. The heavy debris dropped in the ocean. In an ideal situation the rope would have been reeled onto the boat. Finally, the entangled humpback whale was free! The mother and calf were reunited, going into resting state. This is when the calf tucks under the mother’s chin. Now that the mother is free, she and her calf have a better chance of survival.

While this store has a happy ending, there are those whales that don’t get one. There are a lot more whales swimming around in our ocean, dragging marine debris. Last December, a North Atlantic right whale mother was dragging rope from her mouth. The team was unable to remove all of the debris but she was able to eat and traveled over a thousand miles without issues.

If you ever see an entangled whale, please do not approach it. You can easily collide with the whale and cause more harm than good. It is also a federal crime to approach a humpback whale and you need a special permit in order to help them. Any entangled wildlife should be reported to the NOAA’s Hotline at 888-256-9840.

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