An endangered humpback whale is safe from danger after being caught in ropes as the animal was being hunted by a great white shark. After the cetacean's ordeal, it was freed by scientists, as the would-be hunter prowled the waters below the rescue team. 

Center for Coastal Studies (CCS) researchers were patrolling the waters of Stellwagen Bank, just north of Provicetown, Massachusetts. The area is a known feeding ground for humpback whales in the North Atlantic. When the team came across the marine mammal, the creature was tangled in ropes from its mouth to tail, unable to move or defend itself from attack. The researchers also saw a distinctive bite wound on the left flank of the creature, delivered by a great white shark that was still circling the waters beneath the injured whale. 

The Marine Animal Entanglement Response team (MAER) at the Center, managed by the CCS, provided the rescue workers needed to save the wounded mammal from its bondage.  

"The team began the disentanglement operation from aboard its 35-foot response vessel Ibis to ensure safety from the approximately 15-foot shark. The team was able to cut the rope from the mouth of the whale which gave the whale the ability to swim despite the multiple wraps of rope at the tail," the Center for Coastal Studies reported.

The shark patrolling the water beneath moved away from its intended prey. 

Once the animal was able to move, rescue workers in a raft moved toward the cetacean with tools designed to cut the rope still affixed to the tail. The team attached floats to the whale in an effort to tire the animal, making it safe to free from the ropes. Immediately after being freed, the humpback quickly raced away from the scene of its ordeal.

This rescue occurred as the Discovery Channel was hosting shark week, a celebration of education and fun related to the powerful marine hunters. 

The Marine Animal Entanglement Response team has saved more than 200 animals, including many whales, from ropes and other dangers. The group has carried out these rescues since 1984. 

The team that saved the marine animal believe the whale likely would have been killed by the shark if researchers had not come across the animal in time. Video of the massive shark is available on the MAER Video Channel YouTube page. 

Boaters who spot trapped animals, including whales, sea turtles and other creatures, should call the Marine Animal Entanglement Response Hotline at 1-800-900-3622 or contact the U.S. Coast Guard, the CCS reports.

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