Pacific Whale Foundation vessels re-spot disentangled humpback whale calf

On Sunday, December 15th, the Pacific Whale Foundation vessel Ocean Discovery reported an entangled humpback whale calf, located about 1 nm outside of Lahaina Harbor.  Thin gauge line, possibly monofilament, was wrapped very tightly around the calf’s body at a level just forward of the pectoral flippers.

The line was deeply embedded in the wound encircling the animal, yet no gear was seen trailing. White and red cyamid amphipods (whale lice) were seen residing in the wounds and along the mouth line, along with chafe marks along the left side of the head and a notch wound at the dorsal tailstock.  The Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary response team attempted to cut the tight wrap on the calf, but was unfortunately not able to free the animal.

A second response was mounted three days later, on Wednesday December 18th.  Using a specially designed knife, the wrap entangling the whale was cut and the animal was successfully freed of the entangling line.

One week later, on December 25th, the calf with its mother was re-sighted several miles south of Ma’alaea by PWF vessel Ocean Intrigue.  Documentation obtained shows the line scar and the cuts made to the animal in the process of removing the gear.

On Saturday, December 28th, the calf was re-sighted off Lahaina by PWF vessel Ocean Adventurer.  The PWF crew again reported that the calf appeared healthy and much surface activity was observed.  

 

Entangled calf with mother during 12/18/2013 disentanglement attempt

Entangled calf with mother during 12/18/2013 disentanglement attempt

 

Disentangled calf re-spotted by PWF vessel Ocean Intrigue 12/25/2013

 

Disentangled calf re-spotted by PWF vessel Ocean Intrigue 12/25/2013