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    Humpback Calf Disentangled June 1, 2008

     
         
     

    An entangled humpback whale calf was freed from approximately 150 feet of rope on Sunday afternoon by the Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies' (PCCS) disentanglement team.

    PCCS Image, taken under NOAA permit 932-1489, under the authority of the U.S. Endangered Species and MMPA - request PCCS permission for use.

    A whale watch vessel reported seeing the entangled calf with its mother in Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary around 12:50 p.m. The PCCS disentanglement team responded aboard R/V Ibis departing Provincetown harbor at approximately 1:45 p.m. The calf was relocated about 25 nautical miles east of Boston, just north of the Boston shipping lanes at 3:20 p.m. by another whale watch vessel, Hurricane II, which stood by the animal until the PCCS team arrived approximately 8 minutes later.

    Once on the scene the team documented a single wrap of rope around each fluke blade that came together at the fluke notch and trailed approximately 70 - 80 feet behind the whale. Disentanglement of the calf was deemed necessary by the team because of several factors including the configuration of the entanglement, the fresh abrasions along the caudal peduncle and flukes and the young age of the whale.


    PCCS Image, taken under NOAA permit 932-1489, under the authority of the U.S. Endangered Species and MMPA - request PCCS permission for use.


    The PCCS team used a grappling hook to catch the trailing lines which broke almost immediately. The team recovered the grapple with about 40 feet of the entangling rope attached. The team reset the grapple into one of the trailing lines and attached a buoy to the rope to add some resistance. The mother remained calm throughout the disentanglement effort, while the calf reacted by swift changes in direction and high speed swimming. The drag of the buoy and the movements of the calf allowed the remaining rope to untwist and the calf was freed. All rope was recovered and the calf was documented to be gear free. The humpback mother and calf pair was last seen swimming at high speeds to the south.


    click here to read about previous entanglements

     
     


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