Rescuers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Coast Guard and the Los Angeles County Fire Lifeguard Division failed to immediately rescue an entangled blue whale off the southern California coast on Friday, Sept 4.
According to a clip shot via aerial view by the local television network KABC, the tail of the whale was seen attached to a thick line linked to what seems like an anchored float trailing about a couple of feet away.
The whale was first seen at around 1 p.m. by a Harbor Breezes Cruises boat that was then on a whale-watching trip. At first, nothing looked unusual but as the captain got near, he instantly observed that the whale was in trouble, Dan Salas from the cruise firm told the Los Angeles Times.
According to Jim Milbury, a spokesperson from NOAA, the exact location of the whale upon its discovery was five miles from Rancho Palos Verdes, an upper-class community along the coast. A group of experts, who are eligible to rescue marine animals was present during that time. They contemplated whether to cut the line to free the mammal or retain it as it is, he adds. Dragging the line may possibly be hazardous to the whale or lacerate the skin, which is definitely not a good thing.
As the night approached, the rescuers berthed their boats at the Cabrillo Beach in San Pedro, tired and exhausted. The team, however, was all up to resume the rescue mission the next day, should the whale show up again, says Peter Wallerstein, Los Angeles County Marine Animal Rescue project director.
At present, the officials are insisting the whale watchers and other members of the public to cancel trips and activities within the vicinity, advises Milbury. Operations to rescue the blue whale are expected to continue Saturday morning.
Blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus) is the largest animal in the world. The size of this mammal ranges from 70-90 feet on the average. According to the Marine Mammal Center, its entire body may be compared to three school buses and its heart to a car. Blue whales swim alone or in groups but swimming in pairs are most typical. In the California Coast, around 2,000 blue whales have migrated to Costa Rica and Mexico.
Photo: Gregory "Slobirdr" Smith | Flickr