Distressed humpback whale found entangled in rope off Cape Cod

CHATHAM, MASS. (WHDH) - A rescue team was able to free a young humpback whale that was found entangled in black rope in the water off Chatham on Monday, officials said.

A Marine Animal Entanglement Response team at the Center for Coastal Studies in Provincetown found the whale with a black rope stretched tight across its back.

Officials say it was a challenging rescue operation because the rope “had no visibly trailing loose ends that the [rescue] team would normally use to disentangle the animal.”

Rescuers ultimately affixed a hook-shaped knife to the end of a 30-foot pole and cut the rope.

Credit: Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary

“While the exact configuration of its entanglement is still unknown, it is hoped the whale will now shed the remaining rope without further intervention,” the Center for Coastal Studies said in a press release.

A Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary team, which was conducting a whale tagging study off Cape Cod, initially discovered the aquatic mammal in distress.

The whale was said to be in “relatively poor condition” because it “had likely been entangled for some time.”

It will be monitored over time for any signs of change in its health.

The rescue operation lasted about two hours.

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