Posted by: The ocean update | April 22, 2015

Eastern Cape man helps save entangled whales (South Africa)

File : NSRI

File : NSRI

April 22nd, 2015 (Amanda Khoza). Port Elizabeth – An Eastern Cape lodge owner helped save a humpback whale and her calf after noticing that they had become entangled in fishing ropes off the coast of Oyster Bay, near Cape St Francis, on Tuesday.

Nick Bornman, 58, said he was standing on the deck of his balcony braaing and entertaining his guests when he saw a large whale showing signs of distress.

“I spotted the whale and at the time I did not know that it was a humpback whale. I saw it entangled in ropes and stuck next to big orange buoys swimming about off-shore of Oyster Bay. It was just beyond the breakers so we could see what was happening,” said Bornman.

The owner of the Oyster Bay Beach Lodge said he called the “National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) and a rescue craft responding.

“Using my cellphone, I was able to direct them to where the whale was and they immediately located it. They were there within half-an-hour. I stood on my deck and watched the South African Whale Disentanglement Network (SAWDN) team cut the whale free. They then called me shortly and told me that it was a humpback whale and her calf, but they are okay now,” said Bornman.

He said he was relieved that he had spotted the distressed sea creature and that help had arrived so speedily.

“I am happy that they were able to save them in time. We see whales here all the time in winter and this was the first time that we saw one in trouble,” said Bornman.

NSRI spokesperson Craig Lambinon said on arrival the team found two humpback whales swimming together, possibly a mother and her calf.

“The smaller of the two whales, believed to be a juvenile, was found to be entangled in rope and three buoys, with the rope entangled around the peduncle, with the entangled whale swimming freely but appearing to be burdened by the weight of the entanglement,” said Lambinon.

Using specialised disentanglement equipment, and in an operation lasting just under 30 minutes, all rope and flotation buoys were successfully removed from the whale and recovered.

“The whale appears to not be injured from the ordeal and appeared to be swimming confidently following the disentanglement and SAWDN are confident that the operation has been successful,” said Lambinon.

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