Animal rescuers in Orange County in Southern California are looking out for a gray whale, which became entangled in what is guessed to be a metal fishing gear or frame.
The whale was spotted in this condition at around 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 1, outside the Dana Point. As of April 4 morning, the tangled mammal was not spotted by rescuers keeping a steady watch.
Gray whales are famous for the distance they can cover for the purpose of mating and giving birth to calves. These particular species of whales grow up to a length of 49 feet and can weigh up to 79,366 pounds.
These whales derive their name from the gray patches and mottling, which adorns their dark skin.
Entangled Whale In California
The distressed gray whale was first spotted by Capt. Frank Brennan, about 2 miles off Dana Point. Brennan saw the creature while conducting a whale-watching tour. Initially, because of the presence of too many boats around it, the whale was evasive.
However, Brennan saw the whale again off Laguna Beach the same day. It appeared that the whale's head had somehow gotten stuck in the metal frame of a fishing gear, which had fishing lines attached.
Brennan followed the whale from Laguna Beach till Main Beach before Capt. Dave Anderson could take over at 6 p.m. Anderson runs Captain Dave's Dolphin Safari and also leads Orange County's whale disentanglement team.
Brennan also alerted Justin Viezbicke, network coordinator at marine mammal stranding network of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The last time the entangled gray whale was spotted was outside Newport Beach Harbor at sunset. Anderson avoided sending his tracking buoy after the whale because he was not quite sure how the head of the whale was trapped in the metal bar.
"We felt very uncertain about what damage it would cause to the whale with this unusual entanglement. With darkness closing in, we thought it was best to document the last location and hope for the best tomorrow," said Anderson
Viezbicke, along with other rescue groups, is trying to create a plan to remove the metal frame from the whale's head. The rescuers are trying to determine whether the metal frame is a piece of a fishing gear or some other machinery.
Whale Entanglement Numbers Rise
Anderson expressed his worry and stated that this is the fourth entangled whale he has spotted in the past two months.
Back in 2016, 71 cases of whale entanglement were reported along the coasts of California, Washington, and Oregon. However, the West Coast tops the chart in terms of whales getting caught in crabbing gears.
Photo: Ryan Harvey | Flickr