SA Whale Disentanglement Network (SAWDN) Media Release:
For Immediate Release
SA WHALE DISENTANGLEMENT NETWORK – TABLE BAY – Wednesday, 16th January, 2013.
MIKE MEYER, of the Department of Environment Oceans and Coasts, said:
“At 08h45 (Wednesday, 16th January, 2013) members of the Department of Environment Oceans and Coasts and the SA Whale Disentanglement Network (SAWDN) were activated following reports from the Transnet National Ports Authority of a whale entangled in heavy rope just off-shore of the Breakwater at the Port of Table Bay.
Members launched a rigid inflatable boat and on arrival on-scene found the whale, a 15 meter Southern Right adult whale, to be heavily entangled in multiple heavy thick rope that covered the under belly and around the tail with two separate entanglements.
“The whale appeared to be lethargic and gave us the impression, from its calm demeanor, that it was tired and may have been entangled for quite some time and we feel that the whale is in a poor condition.
“We began to cut away rope from the whale, using specialized whale disentanglement cutting equipment, and it soon became apparent that the whale has been entangled for a long while as some of the rope has become embedded deeply in the whales blubber.
“Due to the severity of the situation additional support was sought and the SA Police Services Sea Border Control launched a rigid inflatable boat to join in the operation providing a much needed additional floating platform for us to use to carry out the task of cutting rope away from the whale.
“In total 27 cuts were made in attempts to free rope from the whale.
“A large portion of rope has been successfully freed from the whale.
“A large laceration is apparent on the whales Caudal Peduncule, where the flutes join and while we are optimistic that with most of the rope freed from the whale there is a chance that the relief will see the whale back to health although the bits of rope that remain embedded in the blubber of the whale are a concern.”
THE SA WHALE DISENTANGLEMENT NETWORK IS A SPECIALIZED NETWORK OF VOLUNTEERS SET-UP IN 2006 TO DEAL WITH THESE TYPES OF SITUATIONS AND COMPRISES VOLUNTEERS – FROM NSRI, THE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS – OCEANS AND COAST, SA NATIONAL PARKS, CAPE NATURE, THE SA POLICE SERVICES, VARIOUS AQUARIUMS from around South Africa, THE NATAL SHARKS BOARD, BAYWORLD, VARIOUS OTHER ORGANISATIONS AND VOLUNTEERS, with the support of the Dolphin Action and Protection Group (DAPG).
SAWDN COVERS THE ENTIRE SA COASTLINE.