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Whale disentangled off Geraldton coast

Whale disentanglement operation
Whale disentanglement operation Parks and Wildlife/Garth Grimsley

A whale disentanglement team from the Department of Parks and Wildlife has successfully disentangled a humpback whale north-west of Geraldton with assistance from the Department of Fisheries and Kalbarri Volunteer Sea Rescue.

The 8m sub-adult whale, with rope entangled around its tail and towing two large orange buoys, was first reported on Sunday north of Kalbarri and there were further sightings over the next two days near Horrocks beach north of Geraldton.

The disentanglement team was mobilised on Tuesday, but was unable to carry out the rescue until late yesterday afternoon (Thursday 28 August), 20 nautical miles off the Geraldton coast. The whale had been re-sighted by Parks and Wildlife staff from the air.

Midwest regional manager Anthony Desmond said after first carefully assessing the animal, the disentanglement team was able to cut the rope away from the whale, allowing it to swim free.

“The ropes were wrapped twice around the whale’s peduncle area and around each of its tail flukes,” Mr Desmond said.

“It was a delicate operation as we were dealing with an animal that weighs thousands of kilograms, so it was important that human safety was addressed first.

“The team was able to cut it away using specialist equipment so it was a great result and the best possible outcome for this whale.

“We monitored the whale after the disentanglement and while it was very tired, it was swimming strongly and its prognosis is good.”

People who see an entangled or beached whale should keep a safe distance from the animal and contact Parks and Wildlife’s Wildcare Helpline on 9474 9055.

Last modified on Friday, 29 August 2014 18:44

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Humpback whale disentanglement Department of Parks and Wildlife