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Humpback whale calf saved as mother disentangled at Seaview

Jun 25, 2019
Humpback whale calf saved as mother disentangled at Seaview

Port Elizabeth -A Humpback whale and its calf were recently saved after being entangled in buoy ropes off Seaview in Port Elizabeth thanks to the swift reaction of local volunteers.

"It all started as I was standing on my deck observing numerous Humpback whales breaching at Seaview," described Raggy Charters owner, Lloyd Edwards.

"At 10am, I saw a Humpback cruising past with a red buoy trailing about 200 metres behind it. I immediately called the National Sea Rescue (NSRI) Commander, Ian Gray, who got his team into action."

Edwards said that the next call was to Raggy Charters  manager, Jake Keeton, to get My China fuelled and ready.

"I alerted all the local whale spotters who could keep eyes on the whale.

"We left port just after the NSRI, having been joined by Raggy Charters skipper, Warren, and guide, Abongile. Also aboard was Ken “Elvis” Hacohen, who served for three years in the Israeli Navy," he added.

"We eventually met up with the two NSRI vessels and the entangled whale, just past Van Staadens River. We watched as the small rubber duck maneuvered skillfully around the whale, cutting through the nylon cables.

"We also noticed that the whale was not alone and had a newborn calf in tow. The calf’s dorsal fin was still bent over, which means that it had been born very recently. It must have been a terribly stressful time for the two whales."

Edwards said that eventually, the last rope was cut and the whale was free!

"Once freed, the pair shot off in a Southerly direction at speed. We wondered how the calf would keep up, but it stayed firmly beside its mother. After about three miles they started to slow down," he explained.

"The next minute the cow started breaching, almost as if to say thank you! Two great breaches and then we left them alone to find peace with themselves.

"We must have seen over 100 humpback whales on the round trip. A new record for us! Remember that these animals have bounced back to around 98% of their pre exploitation population."

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