Disentanglement Team Frees Young Humpback Whale


CHATHAM – The Center for Coastal Studies Marine Animal Entanglement Response Team recently helped free a humpback whale calf from a rope entanglement. 

They responded to the event on Tuesday, June 14, when Atlantic White Shark Conservancy team members spotted the entangled whale in Stellwagen Bank. 

The small whale was a dependent calf and most likely only a few months old. Its mother was close by feeding with other whales. 

The team performed some cuts using a pole and a hook-shaped knife to disentangle the calf from the  rope caught in its mouth and around its tail. 

“Luckily we were able to retrieve the gear. The calf surfaced quickly a few minutes after Jenn (Tackaberry) made the cuts, I spotted the gear floating on the water after the calf went down again,” MAER team member Emily Kelly said.

Center officials explained that disentanglement of either a calf or a mother is difficult since teams have to be mindful of both whales during the process and how they could potentially react to each other. 

According to the Center, the calf was injured from the entanglement but it does have a better prognosis now. 

By Brian Engles, CapeCod.com NewsCenter

About Brian Engles

Brian Engles is a longtime local of the Cape. He studied Film & TV at Boston University and in addition to his role at Cape Cod Broadcasting Media, he also works as a music instructor and records original songs.

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