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Another Gray Whale Freed from Fishing Tangle


Yet another gray whale has finally been freed from being tangled in fishing ropes. (In March there was this one for a gray whale who was named Bart.)

Nicknamed June, he was first seen caught up in 120 feet of rope attached to several buoys off the coast of Southern California three weeks ago. Rescuers tried to help but couldn’t get close enough and then lost sight of him overnight, but not before being able to attach two floats to him so he could be spotted again.

Over the weekend, fishermen saw him. According to the Associated Press:

As [Mark] Anello, a fourth-generation fisherman, and two others on his boat the Point Ommaney moved closer, they found the orange and white buoys connected to the whale that measured close to the length of his vessel, said Tony Anello, Mark’s father.

“They come up slowly alongside the whale, and the whale started fighting at first,” the elder Anello said. “Then the whale decided to calm down.”

Using 12-foot, bamboo poles with hooks on the end, Mark Anello and his crew spent 90 minutes freeing the 40-ton mammal, which had been nicknamed “June” by rescuers who had earlier tried to free it.

Once the creature was free from the ropes, nets and buoys it took a lap around the vessel.

“The whale circled the boat, surfaced and took off,” Tony Anello said. “It was like it was saying thank you.”

Two notes:

1. Every whale rescue I’ve ever read about ends with the whale doing something that the rescuers interpret as a thank-you. (Check out the Bart story, and this one from last year in the Sea of Cortez.)

2. It would be nice if the press would stop referring to these animals as “it”.