Friday, 11 July 2014

Whale rescue at Byron Bay complete success as humpback swims free

The juvenile humpback, entangled in rope and dragging a buoy, moved up the coast but then returned to Cape Byron

Susan Chenery, Tuesday 8 July 2014 10.24 BST

A dramatic rescue operation on the New South Wales north coast ended successfully on Tuesday night when a male juvenile humpback whale was cut free of nylon ropes, a buoy and fishing nets.

The distressed 10-metre whale had been spotted at first light 100m off Main Beach at Byron Bay and hundreds of people soon gathered.

Rangers from National Parks and Wildlife shadowed the whale in a boat while the specialist disentanglement team from the Department of Primary Industry and Fisheries rushed from Queensland.

“We attached buoys to it just to slow it down,” said ranger Sean Court. “It took off a few times. We just stayed with with it. We didn't want to harass it and make it all flighty. Thankfully a couple of times it slowed down and had a rest and while it was resting we cut the ropes off.

“Dealing with whales is a pretty tricky thing. They don't just sit still and let you come and cut things off them.”

It took about 45 minutes to cut off all the roping.

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