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Entangled whale eludes response team

LIHU‘E — Experts are keeping tabs on an entangled humpback whale, one week after a beachgoer reported the distressed animal 100 yards off Brennecke’s Beach in Po‘ipu.

A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration-led team removed most of the debris – about 2,000 feet of high-gauge line – during a same-day response operation on Monday, Jan. 16.

But the adult whale has eluded human intervention since then, speeding toward Ni‘ihau on Tuesday, before an attached telemetry buoy indicated it returned to Kaua‘i later in the week.

However, responders aboard a U.S. Coast Guard vessel were unable to sight the whale.

“We will continue to monitor the whale’s location with the telemetry buoy and will attempt to remove more gear, if feasible,” NOAA reported Friday. “Our goal is to safely free large whales from life-threatening entanglements. At the same time, we try to gather valuable information that will reduce the frequency and impacts of entanglements in the future.”

The telemetry buoy will self-release approximately one week from its deployment.

Members of the public who spot an entangled whale are encouraged to call the statewide NOAA Marine Wildlife Hotline at 888-256-9840 to alert authorized responders. If cell service is unavailable, call the U.S. Coast Guard on VHF Channel 16.
Source: The Garden Island

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