Thanks to the efforts of The Georgia Department of Natural Resources and The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission an endangered whale has been given a second chance at life.
After several attempts, a team of biologists partially freed Whale No. 4057 from 100-plus yards of weighted rope he was dragging along. No. 4057 is one of only about 450 remaining North Atlantic right whales.
Authorities have not yet pieced together where the rope came from or the specific type of fishing it had been used for. “Judging from its wounds, I suspect this whale had been hauling that rope for weeks or longer,” said Clay George, who heads right whale research for Georgia DNR. “It’s impossible to know if he’ll survive, but at least we gave him a fighting chance.”
Credit: Flickr Creative Commons. Georgia Wildlife Resources Division.
Entanglement is a chronic problem for the species, said Barb Zoodsma, NOAA Fisheries’ coordinator of right whale recovery efforts in the Southeastern U.S. “Most entanglements occur in gillnet and trap/pot gear that is left to soak in the water unattended for long periods.” According to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, more than 80 percent of North Atlantic right whales bear scars from rope entanglements, and almost 60 percent have been entangled twice.
Biologist Clay George cautions, “Disentanglement can’t save every whale, the focus must be on prevention.”
Watch the amazing rescue below.
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