Marine biologists on Thursday, 15 May, working off the California coast managed to set free a whale that got entangled in a steel rope attached to a 300-pound crab trap, according to ABC News.
The entangled whale was found two weeks ago in Monterey Bay dragging itself with the heavy fishing device. A rescue operation was soon set off when marine biologists discovered the whale with life-threatening injuries.
Crab pots are fishing gears used by commercial fishermen to grab crustaceans and both the trap and fining rope had made severe cuts in the whale's body and prevented it from diving and hunting for food.
Experts from Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the NOAA Fisheries and West Coast Region and Protected Resources Division and some other commercial organizations collectively worked to free the whale.
Rescuers were capable of removing the crab trap and some of the fish lines at the beginning of the mission, but strong wind and 10-foot deep seas in the month of April hindered their work. However, they were able to place a satellite tracker on the whale. Later on Thursday, the team caught up with the whale and successfully managed to cut the rope completely.
The rope, which was wrapped tightly around the tail of the creature would have killed the whale, if the rope had not been removed.
"The whale was absolutely exhausted and had been through so much," said Peggy Stap, one of the rescuers of Moss Landing-based Marine Life Studies. It is expected that the whale will survive and make a full recovery despite its exhaustive effort.
"They have a remarkable ability to heal. It wouldn't have made it if we didn't remove the rope. It was so gratifying to see that whale swim free." Stap added.