Animal rescuers freed a tangled humpback whale that had gotten caught in fishing line, saving the young marine mammal from near-death, video of the incident shows.
A 25-foot juvenile humpback whale thought to be about one year old was found bound and unable to move off the coast of La Jolla, California about 3:15 p.m. Sunday, officials with SeaWorld said in a news release.
“The animal was essentially ‘hog-tied’ with fishing line running through its mouth, pinning down its left pectoral flipper and entangled around its tail fluke area. The whale was also dragging an undetermined amount of fishing gear from its tail,” SeaWorld officials said.
A rescue team immediately got to world in an effort to free the whale, making several cuts to the fishing line working from the front of the body near the animal’s mouth and moving towards its tail.
"It's a phenomenal effort to save a life of an animal that would have otherwise perished because of this wrap," Keith Yip, SeaWorld San Diego Curator of Mammals said.
It took two hours to free the whale, which swam north in the direction of its normal migration pattern, authorities said.
“Lacking the ability to swim freely and forage for food, the whale would have died had it not been disentangled,” officials said.
Officers with the California Fish & Wildlife and San Diego Lifeguards assisted in monitoring the whale before the arrival of SeaWorld’s rescue team, which came to the aid of six entangled whales last year.