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ENTANGLED HUMPBACK: EBONY Disentangled July 7,2008
Ebony, a reproductive female humpback whale, was freed from an entanglement at 2:00 pm, about two nautical miles, east of Race Point in Provincetown, on Monday by a disentanglement team with the Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies (PCCS).
PCCS Image, taken under NOAA permit 932-1489, under the authority of the U.S. Endangered Species and MMPA - request PCCS permission for use.
Ebony a mature female gave birth to her most recent calf just last year. First seen in 1981, she was first reported to be entangled on June 27, 2008 when PCCS scientists sighted her on Stellwagen Bank during a whale disentanglement-training cruise. She was sighted again at approximately 11:00 am on July 7, 2008 by whale watch vessels in the area, who reported the sighting to the entanglement hotline. A team from the Center responded with the assistance of several local whale watch company vessels including Alpha and Dolphin Fleet of Provincetown, and Yankee Whale Watching of Hyannis.
The entanglement consisted of a loop of twisted line through her mouth and over her head, similar to a horse's bridle. The team cut the rope leaving only a short line of rope stuck between the baleen, which the team believes, will come out over time on its own as she feeds.
Rescuers add that her condition is poor, and while the disentanglement effort is considered a success, her skin color is pale and the whale remains skinny, which may or may not have to do with the entanglement. Ebony was feeding with other humpback whales in the area when rescuers left her side.
As of January 1, 2009, the large whale disentanglement program will no longer receive federal funding and whales like Ebony may not get a chance to survive an entanglement. The endangered large whales that become entangled in our oceans may face certain death due to budget cuts.