After a two-day operation, a nearly 50-foot humpback whale was freed from a huge tangle of nylon ropes off the Southern California coast this wekend.
Officials finally removed the 250 feet of line and buoys from the massive animal on Saturday after the whale struggled with life-threatening hindrance for what was likely a long time.
But the skittish whale didn't make it easy. It took two rescue teams two days across 60 miles of ocean to finally give the whale a new lease on life.
Authorities believe the whale is the same one that was spotted days before the rescue near Santa Barbara, reports the Associated Press.
On Friday, it was spotted off the Orange County coast and NOAA workers were dispatched to help free it.
The team was able to cut away around 100 feet of the line before the whale became agitated and dove out of reach of the rescuers.
A day later, the whale was spotted 60 miles south near La Jolla, at which point Sea World sent out its own team to help the animal.
The team was able to successfully remove the rest of the line, except for a piece in the whale's mouth and the whale swam away in no apparent distress.
Experts believe a recent uptick of similar whale entanglements--there have been around 50 in the area since January--could be attributed to warmer waters bringing the whales closer to shore, where they are more likely to get snagged in fishing gear.