SAWDN frees young whale from fishing line trap


The South African Whale Disentanglement Network (SAWDN) this week successfully saved a juvenile humpback whale from peril.

The whale was trapped at a seabed off Simon’s Town in the Western Cape, after becoming entangled in fishing rope and lines.

SAWDN spokesperson Craig Lambinon on Friday said that the rescuers first attempted to save the animal on Thursday, but were forced to abandon their efforts and return the following morning, as night fell before the animal could be freed.

The young whale frantically tried to avoid SAWDN rescuers by diving and swimming in circles for up to five minutes, unable to get away due to the fishing line that anchored it to the seabed. The animal had a rope through its mouth, another wrapped around its flipper, and the bundle of fishing line trailing under it, which anchored it to the seabed.

A concerned, larger humpback whale was circling around the younger animal while SAWDN volunteers eventually successfully managed to attach a buoy to one of the fishing lines.

The floating buoy brought the whale to the surface, which calmed the animal down a bit and gave the rescue team the chance to closer inspect the entanglement situation.

In doing so, they managed to liberate the whale from its prison of rope and line, and it swam off to freedom.