Thursday, November 22, 2007

Just one.........

Humpback whales are a common sight as they frequent the New England coastline even though they are an endangered species. This past weekend, witnesses reported spotting one about a quarter mile off of Weekapaug Beach in Westerly RI.

The 30 foot-long, juvenile humpback appeared to be tangled in fishing nets or rope and Cindy David of the Mystic Aquarium stated that state wildlife officials and volunteers have been trying to free it since then. Davis added that the animal appeared to be thin and have some lacerations near it's dorsal fin and most likely became entangled while it was feeding on bait fish near shore.

Monday though, despite the efforts of the rescuers, the whale freed itself. April Valliere of the Department of Environmental Management stated that the young whale became increasingly aggressive during their rescue attempts and began swimming back and forth. They watched as it made increasingly longer surges against it's bonds until it seemed to get a burst of steam and broke free.

DEM police officers followed the whale for a bit and reported that it was free from the lines although they dopn't know if any smaller lines were still wrapped around the whale and trailing. They weren't able to recover the net or lines and make a positive identification of what it had become trapped by. Fishing lines and nets are a common sight in the waters off the shoreline and are frequently lost by fishing boats when they snag along the bottom here.

The fact that the young whale still had the energy to free itself after being trapped for three days bodes well for it's continued survival.

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