NOAA (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) is currently seeking a severely entangled humpback whale, and has asked for help from the general public in identifying the captive creature’s location.
The sighting involving the marine mammal occurred during late afternoon, on Friday, November 20, off Dana Point, in Orange County, California.
Whale watchers from Dana Wharf Sportfishing and Captain Dave’s Dolphin and Whale Watching Safari were the ones that glimpsed the trapped animal, at around 5 p.m.
Some of them even managed to photograph the humpback whale, whose head appears to have been caught in some type of fishing net, having a buoy or a drum line attached to it.
The sightings were reported to officials at NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service, who immediately sent a team in the area but could no longer find the animal still present in those waters.
According to them, it would’ve been ideal to be able to use a tracking device in order to monitor the whale’s route, which usually tends to be extremely unpredictable. This way, a rescue mission couldn’t be dispatched, because it wasn’t clear exactly where exactly the marine mammal was headed.
The last time the captive creature was spotted was near the Dana Point Harbor shoreline, and witnesses say that it continued to swim along the coast, relatively close to the beach.
According to estimations, the humpback whale is moving at a speed of around 3.5 knots (4 miles per hour). It probably arrived in the San Diego area on Saturday, and it may be that it has already reached Mexico by now.
Some speculate that this whale is actually the same as the one that was reported off Redondo Beach in Loss Angeles, at the end of October.
While the harrowing incident seems unusual, in fact it’s much more common than it might seem. On a daily basis, approximately 1,000 whales, porpoises and dolphins die after being caught in fishing equipment, across the world’s oceans, as reported by the World Wildlife Fund.
Only this year, more than 40 whales have been found trapped in fishing lines off the coast of California, representatives of NOAA have declared.
Therefore, if anyone sees the entangled aquatic mammal, they should immediately call NOAA’s SOS WHALe hotline at (877) 767-9425, or Captain Dave’s Dolphin and Whale Watching Safari, at (949) 488-2828.
Captain Dave Anderson was the one who led Orange County’s initial whale disentanglement action which took place in 2008, and has participated in numerous animal rescues of this kind in recent years.
Under no circumstances should witnesses get closer to the whale, or try to free it from the net themselves, because this might be highly perilous and might also scare the animal further away.
Image Source: Youtube