July 18th, 2014. The Department of Parks and Wildlife says a humpback whale, found washed up on a Pilbara beach in Western Australia, had become tangled in ropes at sea.
The 10-metre whale carcass was found on a beach in Dampier last weekend.
It was assessed by wildlife officers before being towed out to sea to prevent sharks being attracted close to shore.
The department’s Rachael Marshall says the rope marks around the whale’s body indicate it had been entangled for up to 18 months.
“Luckily for us the rope the whale was actually entangled in was picked up by a local port pilot boat operator,” she said.
“They provided that to us and we have sent that down to Perth which will help in an ongoing investigation by both parks and wildlife and some other research organisations which is looking into different types of ropes which are being found to entangle whales and where they may come from.
“If you see a whale entangled or an unwell whale, call parks and wildlife immediately, don’t attempt to free the whale from the rope because if it’s recently entangled and it’s quite healthy, it’s actually a very high-risk situation.
“They are very large and powerful marine mammals and there are proper procedures for us to undertake.”
The department will use the information collected in a wider investigation into the sources of whale entanglements.