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    Latest Disentanglement

     
         

     

    Humpback whale, Banjo, disentangled off Provincetown - May 14, 2007

    The flukes of Banjo as it thrashes at the surface - note the lines wrapping the tailstock.
    PCCS image taken under NOAA-Fisheries permit 932-1489, under the authority of the U.S. Endangered Species
    and Marine Mammal Protection Acts - please request PCCS permission for use.

     

    The PCCS response team disentangled a humpback whale on Saturday (5/12/07) off Race Point, Provincetown. The whale, identified as Banjo by the PCCS humpback whale research team, had multiple wraps of line around its fluke and was struggling to rid itself of the rope. Despite heavy seas, the research team that found the whale was able to stand by Banjo until the response team arrived.

    At eight o’clock in the morning the disentanglement team was paged by the USCG with a report of an entangled whale from a research group, aboard the vessel West Cove, that was conducting surveys for the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary. The crew of the West Cove was willing to stand by the whale despite rough seas until the response team arrived.

    Once the disentanglement team aboard the Ibis arrived they found the whale thrashing at the surface with three wraps of rope around the base of its flukes marked by a buoy. The whale had numerous cuts and scrapes from the entanglement. Sea conditions were too poor to launch a smaller inflatable so the team prepared to either attach a telemetry buoy to the gear wrapping the whale or move in behind the animal and cut the wraps with a knife at the end of a long pole.

     

     

    A member of the disentanglement team reaches out with a knife on a pole just before the ropes were cut.
    PCCS image taken under NOAA-Fisheries permit 932-1489, under the authority of the U.S. Endangered Species
    and Marine Mammal Protection Acts - please request PCCS permission for use.

    As sea conditions continued to worsen, the team decided that the best option was to try and release the whale immediately. After a few attempts to approach the whale failed, the team finally succeeded, making one cut that released all of the gear. The whale lay at the surface a few moments before heading off quickly.

    Based upon the markings on the underside of the flukes, the humpback whale research team identified the whale as Banjo, a whale first seen in the spring of 2006. The whale had been seen recently by whale watchers in the same general area, helping to narrow down the timing of the entanglement.

    The whole operation could not have been possible without the dedication of the crew aboard the West Cove and the communications of the USCG. Many thanks for their efforts.

    click here for a list of previous entanglements

     
     


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