Whale rescued

2015-07-14 06:01
A specialist rescue team helped an adult humpback whale off Cape Point last week after it became tangled in rope and buoys.

A specialist rescue team helped an adult humpback whale off Cape Point last week after it became tangled in rope and buoys.

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An adult humpback whale has been rescued off Cape Point after becoming tangled in rope and buoys.

The South African Whale Disentanglement Network responded to reports of a 15-metre adult whale in distress last week.

On arrival volunteers found the whale tired, with some damage to its tail caused by rope. It was entangled in five wraps of rope around the base of its tail where it connects to the body, two floatation buoys and two wraps of rope around its left tail fluke and another wrap of rope around its right tail fluke. These anchored the whale to traps on the sea bed.

Head of the network Mike Meyer says: “A complication was presented with the rope itself being almost 20mm thick, meaning that the specialised cutting equipment would be tested to its limit.”

An extensive operation ensued, using the specialised disentanglement equipment, and in an operation lasting 40 minutes all rope and buoys were successfully removed from the whale.

“Because of the thick rope it took two volunteers to pull on the cutting poles at the same time while cutting on each wrap and causing one pole to be damaged beyond repair from the weight of the rope and from the effort required to cut through the thick rope. It was incredibly satisfying to achieve the successful outcome”, Meyer says.

The whale was followed for a while by the team and it appeared healthy, strong and confident despite some damage to its tail

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