Humpback whale freed after NPWS successfully cuts away ropes, buoys

An entangled humpback whale has been freed off Scotts Head on the Mid North Coast this afternoon by a specialist Large Whale Disentanglement team from the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS).

Large Whale Disentanglement team

The humpback was reported off Valla Beach this morning by a member of the public, who quickly reported it to the ORRCA hotline (Organisation for the Rescue and Research of Cetaceans in Australia). An ORRCA drone pilot was dispatched to Nambucca Heads to provide confirmation of the entanglement.

With the support of ORRCA and Trial Bay Marine Rescue, NPWS launched a 3-person Large Whale Disentanglement team from Scotts Head at approximately 12.30 pm.

At approximately 1.30 pm, the NPWS crew successfully cut an entanglement of ropes and white buoys free, using a long extension pole.

The crew collected the entanglement and observed the whale from a distance to confirm there were no further obstructions. The whale swam away from the crew freely.

Any attempt to disentangle a distressed whale is inherently dangerous and complicated by changing sea conditions, the enormous size of the whale and its instinctive behaviours. Only highly trained, specialist teams should attempt to free an entangled whale.

As a large number of humpback whales migrate along the NSW coastline, members of the public are advised to contact NPWS on 13000PARKS (1300 072 757) or ORRCA on 02 9415 3333 if you see a distressed or entangled whale.

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