On April 27, Peggy Stap of Marine Life Studies in Moss Landing, California discovered a distressed humpback whale that had become attached to a 300-pound crabpot in Monterey Bay. The following day, officials from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and local marine biologists went to rescue the creature. They successfully managed to free the large animal from the crabpot, but before they could cut the rope from its tail, bad weather got in the way and they had to return to shore. As KSBW Action News 8 reports, the humpback whale was finally freed from that rope this past Thursday, and it was all caught on camera.
During their initial rescue effort, the team put a satellite tracker on the whale, so they could know its whereabouts while they waited for favorable weather conditions. Finally on May 15, good weather gave them their chance when the whale was off the coast of Santa Barbara, California. The creature was in rough shape. Ms. Stap told KSBW, “The whale was absolutely exhausted and had been through so much. It had traveled 684 nautical miles since we found it in Monterey.”
The rope that rescuers had tried to sever was still on the whale, and it was wrapped so tightly, the creature might have lost its tail. Failure to take care of it might have meant tragic consequences beyond the loss of its appendage. KSBW notes, “Stap said there was no doubt that the whale was going to die if the rope was not released.” Fortunately, this did not come to pass. After all the remaining rope was removed, the humpback whale swam away, safe at last. If you go to KSBW, they have video of the initial rescue effort as well.
More info: KSBW