Humpback whale rescued outside Chatham Harbor


PROVINCETOWN (FOX 25 / - The Marine Animal Entanglement Response (MAER) team in Provincetown disentangled a young humpback whale outside Chatham Harbor on Saturday afternoon.  This is the second time this summer that this particular whale had to be rescued.

The whale, named "Hiatus," was found and reported by tuna fisherman on Saturday.  The fishermen stood by the tangled animal until the MAER responders arrived from Provincetown.

When the MAER team arrived on scene, they found Hiatus, a relatively young humpback, firmly anchored in place by an entanglement that consisted of many wraps of rope through its mouth and around the body.

The responders, working from a small inflatable boat, used a twenty foot pole and hook-shaped knife to make numerous cuts in the entanglement, eventually freeing the whale from the rope and gear.

"Hiatus" was disentangled at nearly the same spot on July 5, 2012.

"This was very unusual and not a pleasant coincidence" said Scott Landry, director of the entanglement response program. "We'd like to think that whales could learn to avoid entanglements but we know that the issue may be more complicated than that. Hopefully, Hiatus will have a bit of time to heal from these events."

Boaters are urged to quickly report any sightings of entangled whales, sea-turtles and other marine animals to the Marine Animal Entanglement Response Hotline at 1-800-900-3622 or the US Coast Guard, and to stand by the animal at a safe distance until trained responders arrive.