A humpback whale that was entangled in ropes and bleeding from an injury caused by a great white shark bite managed to escape its attacker with the help of some scientists.
The animal was found by a group of scientists from the Center for Coastal Studies while they were carrying out a research that analyzed the gases exhaled by the humpback whales. The researchers found the distressed whale on Stellwagen Bank, an area known for being often visited by humpback whales.
The whale was suffering with its mouth and tail being tied with ropes, wrapping many times around the animal. The researchers described the whale as being unable to move, bleeding from a shark bite on the animal’s left flank and sitting at the surface.
The director of Humpback Whale Research from the Center for Coastal Studies, Dr. Jooke Robbins, said that she only saw another such attack of a shark on a whale during her entire career, and that case was in Haiti, on another calf.
Robbins focused on the fact that such an incident was never seen before in Provincetown and said that sharks are more likely to attack incapacitated whales, vulnerable animals and sick individuals. This is because the fact that whales can be quite difficult adversaries when they are healthy, even for the great white shark.
When she first discovered the whale, Robbins wasn’t immediately sure whether the animal was in trouble or not. The animal was floating in the water with its back on the surface, which could have meant that the whale was simply resting. She did see the rope and the wound, however, when she got closer to the aquatic animal and she also saw the shark circling the animal that couldn’t move.
The researchers began disentangling the animal from aboard the IBIS, a 35 foot rescue vessel owned by the organization and named after the first whale rescued by the Center for Coastal Studies. The team of scientists was able to cut the rope around the mouth of the animal with the help of some knives in the shape of hooks attached to long poles. Once the ropes fell off of the wounded animal, the whale was able to come back to a horizontal position.
The director of the Marine Animal Entanglement Response team, Scott Landry, gave a statement afterwards telling that the shark quickly lost its interest in the whale after the mouth of the aquatic animal was freed and simply swam away from the scene.
Image Source: animalians.wikispaces.com