On Tuesday morning, 10th September, the SA Whale Disentanglement Network (SAWDN) were alerted by the East London ski-boaters of a 4 meter juvenile Humpback whale entangled in fishing rope 2 nautical miles off-shore of east London.
A dive charter boat had located the whale and remained with the whale to mark its position pending the arrival of SAWDN.
SAWDN volunteers, on an NSRI East London sea rescue craft, reached the scene and Marine scientists examining images of the whale confirmed the whale to be in poor health and unlikely to survive.
SAWDN volunteers, using the SAWDN specialised cutting equipment, were able to free and recover fishing rope that was entangled around the whale.
The whale remained still and calm throughout the operation to cut the fishing gear free.
There appeared to be no adult or parent animals in the vicinity.
Once free the whale did appear to show some signs of renewed strength despite the poor state of health.
The sea rescue craft headed out to sea with the whale following the sea rescue craft and adult whales were spotted further out to sea.
After the sea rescue craft veered away from the whale it appeared to continue to head in the direction of the adult whales.
While SAWDN are not optimistic to the survival of this whale we are non the less hopeful for its survival.
SAWDN commend the East London ski-boaters for their alerting us and we commend the dive charter boat who marked the whales position until SAWDN arrived.
The South African Whale Disentanglement Network (SAWDN) was established in 2006 in order to manage entangled whales using specialized equipment and is comprised of trained volunteers from the – National Sea Rescue Institute, KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board, Telkom Maritime Radio Services, Department of Environmental Affairs, Centre for Sustainable Oceans at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Cape Nature, Mammal Research Institute, South African National Parks, South African Police Service, Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries, Cape Nature, Bayworld, various Boat Based Whale Watching and Shark Cage Diving Operators, the Rock Lobster Industry and the Octopus Industry and fully supported by the Dolphin Action and Protection Group.
SAWDN COVERS THE ENTIRE SA COASTLINE
Whales assisted to date: 191
Spokesperson – SOUTH AFRICAN WHALE DISENTANGLEMENT NETWORK (SAWDN)
Cell: 082 380 3800