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    Latest Disentanglement

     
         

     

    Female right whale, 2029, found entangled - 3/23/2007

    Left side of whales' head as it surfaces for a breath. Note line coming from mouthline.
    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.

    On Wednesday, March 21, an entangled mature, female right whale was found traveling in Cape Cod Bay by the PCCS aerial survey team. The disentanglement team responded quickly and spent the day attempting to attach a work line to the rope on her body. Despite numerous approaches the team was ultimately unsuccessful. This work line might have allowed the team to attach a tracking buoy to her entanglement and devise a strategy for disentanglement.

    The whale was quickly recognized by the aerial survey team as 2029, a female born in 1990. She was last seen in early March by a NOAA Fisheries aerial survey team as she was feeding off the eastern shore of Cape Cod, and carrying multiple wraps of rope across her back and flippers. New England Aquarium scientists used photographs from that sighting to identify her. This whale has had two calves during her sighting history, the last of which was born during the 2005/2006 winter calving season.

    Photographs from this most recent sighting helped to confirm that both of her flippers are involved in this entanglement, a situation considered life threatening by the disentanglement team. Rope exiting the left side of her mouth leads directly to her left flipper and also crosses her back to her right flipper. None of the entangling rope trailed beyond her flukes. Water clarity was too poor to understand the exact details of the flippers but there were indications that both flippers may already be compromised. She also showed more general signs of compromised health, including random patches of orange-colored whale lice across her body.
     

     

    Aerial view of 2029 in Cape Cod Bay. Note two lines across her back leading to right flipper.
    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.

    During the disentanglement effort, the team concentrated on attempts to attach a telemetry buoy, a device that has been put to good use in 14 other right whale disentanglement cases. Considering the sea state, the team worked aboard the larger response vessel, Ibis, rather than the small inflatable boats normally used. During successive approaches the team used a grappling hook and tether in an attempt to catch any of the rope entangling her. At each approach the whale dove and changed direction. Water clarity did not allow for early warning of the whales’ surfacings by the circling aerial survey team. By day’s end, the team called off the efforts as the whale became increasingly evasive.

    Any future sightings and updates will be posted here.

    click here for a list of previous entanglements

     
     


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