A rare young North Atlantic right whale was freed from fishing rope by wildlife biologists Monday off the Georgia coast.
According to the Georgia Department of Resources, the 4-year-old whale had been entangled in about 100 yards of rope 40 miles off Wolf Island. The agency said there are only around 450 of the species remaining.
Video captured the event, as staff from the Georgia DNR and theFlorida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission tried several times before successfully cutting most of the rope away.
A DNR press release said rescuers were aided in locating the whale by an aerial survey team and a satellite tracking buoy monitored by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Biologists couldn’t get all of the rope, and it’s not clear if the whale will be able to shed the remainder.
From the Georgia DNR release:
Entanglement in fishing gear is one of the leading causes of death and injury for North Atlantic right whales, one of the most imperiled whale species in the world.
DNR wildlife biologist Clay George said severe injuries on No. 4057’s head and flukes and the fact that the whale is still partially entangled underscore the need to prevent entanglements.
“Disentanglement can’t save every whale. The focus must be on prevention.”