MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Australian marine police cut free a juvenile humpback whale entrapped in fishing ropes and buoys off the coast of Sydney late on Sunday.
Police dispatched a search helicopter to waters near Bondi Beach after members of the public reported a whale in distress, guiding marine police to the animal.
“The whale appeared to have fish netting wrapped around it with a couple of floating buoys,” Police Superintendent Brad Monk told media on Monday. “Several watercraft were around the whale at the time. The whale appeared in distress.”
Humpback whales migrate north from the cold Antarctic along Australia’s east coast to subtropical waters from June to about November, where they mate and give birth.
The whale, believed to be as young as one year old, was last seen heading further into deep water, Monk said.
“The whale was actually quite accommodating,” he said. “It actually was able to slow down to allow the police to do what they needed to do to help it. It was like it almost knew.”
(Reporting by Melanie Burton; Editing by Jane Wardell)