The Boston Globe reports that a humpback whale attacked and entangled in rope by a prowling great white shark was fortunately freed by scientists on Saturday.
The scientists were researching the gases exhaled by humpback whales and crossed paths with the stranded whale entangled in rope at Stellwagen Bank, Massachusetts- an area which is popular among locals as a whale feeding ground.
The whale was found immobilized at the surface of the water and hogtied from mouth to tail which made escape impossible. While being tied, the whale tanked some damage from a great white shark who took a bite from the whale’s flank. Experts do not know about the duration the whale was caught.
Dr. Jooke Robbins, CCS of director of Humpback Whale Research, was the first to spot the whale and initially assumed the humpback was merely resting.
The scientists freed the whale even though they were being circled by a 15-foot-long great white shark. Rescuers boarded a 35-foot response vessel called ‘Ibis’ for keeping a safe distance while they cut the ropes bound the whale. Once the shark departed the scene, the response unit was able to move in closer to the whale through a little rubber dingy. They then removed the rope rapped around the whale’s tail.
When set free, the whale instantaneously swam out to the sea according to NECN. The Marine Animal Entanglement Response Team has freed a lot of animals. There have been 11 humpback whales identified as entangled this year alone, with 10-12% of Maine’s 1000-strong whale population entangled on an annual basis.
Anyone who sees suspicious activity off of the gulf of Maine is urged to contact response units.
Scott Landry, director of the Marine Animal Entanglement Response team reports that the whale was “very lucky” to escape with its life intact after the assault from the shark.