Whale of a job for res­cuers to help rope-en­tan­gled calf

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition) - - NEWS -

A BRYDE’S whale was helped in a dis­en­tan­gle­ment op­er­a­tion off-shore of Hangk­lip in the Western Cape, the SA Whale Dis­en­tan­gle­ment Net­work (SAWDN) said.

SAWDN spokesper­son Craig Lam­bi­non said that at 11.38am on Fri­day, the Na­tional Sea Res­cue In­sti­tute (NSRI) Gor­dons Bay and NSRI Her­manus were asked to in­ves­ti­gate sus­pi­cions of a whale hav­ing be­come en­tan­gled in rope and a floata­tion buoy off-shore of Hangk­lip.

“Eye­wit­nesses re­ported see­ing a large amount of whales in an area about one kilo­me­tre south-east of the Hangk­lip Ho­tel, and a flota­tion buoy in among the whales,” Lam­bi­non said.

“The whales had been there since the early morn­ing, rais­ing con­cerns that one or more of them may (have be­come) en­tan­gled in fish­ing rope.”

He said that SAWDN vol­un­teers from Her­manus took the SAWDN cut­ting equip­ment with them, aboard two NSRI Her­manus sea res­cue craft, South Star and Jay­tee III.

A Bryde’s whale (a large calf, close to be­ing weaned) was found with rope en­tan­gled around its tail and it ap­peared as if the same rope was en­tan­gled through the mouth of the whale, Lam­bi­non said.

“It ap­peared that the mother was there, as a large adult whale re­mained in close prox­im­ity, while the SAWDN crew be­gan cut­ting at the rope to free the en­tan­gled whale,” Lam­bi­non said.

“After all the rope was cut free, us­ing spe­cialised cut­ting equip­ment, the rope and a floata­tion buoy was re­cov­ered and, with the whale re­leased and swim­ming freely, the whale joined its mom and they both swam off.

“The whale ap­peared to be healthy. The eye­wit­nesses are com­mended for alert­ing SAWDN.”

SAWDN head Mike Meyer said this was the first whale helped by the SAWDN. – African News Agency (ANA)

PIC­TURE: SUP­PLIED

NSRI Gor­dons Bay and NSRI Her­manus were asked to in­ves­ti­gate sus­pi­cions of a whale hav­ing be­come en­tan­gled in a rope and floata­tion buoy, off-shore of Hangk­lip.

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