LAHAINA, Hawaii, Dec. 27 (UPI) — U.S. rescuers in Hawaii have freed a humpback whale found to be entangled in a fishing line, officials said.
Ed Lyman, marine mammal response coordinator for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said the whale, a male calf believed to be 2 years old, was noticed acting strangely in the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary on Christmas Day, the Honolulu Advertiser reported.
Lyman responded and discovered the whale’s tail was entangled in fishing line that trailed some 60 feet behind, which was slicing into its blubber and threatening its life. A small anchor used for sedentary fishing gear was also found attached to the line.
The Advertiser said Lyman and science rescue adviser David Mattila used an inflatable boat to get behind the whale and grab onto the entangled line, and while the whale pulled the boat, the men used a pole equipped with a hook knife to cut the line free.
Lyman said it was likely the whale became entangled in the gear in Alaska and swam 2,500 miles to marine sanctuary. It was reportedly the second entangled humpback rescued in the sanctuary in December.
Copyright 2009 by United Press International