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SeaWorld rescues entangled Humpback Whale

This past weekend, SeaWorld rescued a Humpback Whale off the coast of Carlsbad.

SAN DIEGO — SeaWorld is known for entertainment and education but over the past three plus decades, they’ve also rescued ocean wildlife.

This past weekend, SeaWorld rescued a Humpback Whale off the coast of Carlsbad.

“When we approached the whale, we found it had several different ropes wrapped around it, 3/4″ to 5/8″. We got a call from a family that was out in Carlsbad and saw an entangled whale,” said Mike Hopkins, who is a supervisor of Zoological Care at SeaWorld.

Hopkins and his team found the Humpback Whale on Sunday, September 25 and had concerns.

“The whale would only come up 150-feet to one side and 150-feet to the other side. He was circling around us, he wasn’t moving,” said Hopkins.

Because it was late, the rescue was pushed to Monday.

SeaWorld was joined by the NOAA Disentanglement Team and when they returned, it was clear the whale had been entangled in the ropes for some time.

“One of them was embedded in the side of it, on the right side there were five buoys and a big ball of ropes dragging behind the whale,” said Hopkins.

There were three ropes around the front of the Humpback, but it was clear that the one white rope, if they cut it, it might free the whale.

“Justin from NOAA was able elongate the pole and get even with the whale and when it came up to breath, he was able to hook it around the line and pull back and cut the line,” said Hopkins.

And with that one cut, the whale was freed of the entanglement.

“The whale went one way; our boat and gear went the other. We ended up with five buoys and over 300′ of crab fishing line,” said Hopkins.

SeaWorld followed the whale just to make sure.

“We were able video document we had freed the animal, everything was cut-off, 100% clear which doesn’t happen often, this was 100% successful,” said Hopkins.

And you can imagine the excitement.

“That is a ‘high five’ moment, an adrenaline rush to have that happen,” said Hopkins. “You’ve just saved a 40,000-pound animal in the ocean, it’s awesome.”

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