Thursday, March 13, 2008

Boston.com Article about Entanglements

2 right whales spotted with rope tangled in mouths
Boston.com

By Globe Staff
March 13, 2008

"Scientists today are continuing to monitor two female right whales off Cape Cod that were spotted earlier this week with rope tangled in their mouths.

The entanglement is “relatively mild” and because the rope is not wrapped around other body parts, “no immediate threat exists,” according to a press release from the Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies.

Both of the whales are breeding females, which are particularly valuable because there are less than 400 still alive. “They help this critically endangered species recover by reproducing and thus adding to the population,” said Tanya Gabettie, a spokesperson for the Center for Coastal Studies, in an e-mail.

An aerial survey team noticed the first whale Tuesday afternoon during a routine flyover of Cape Cod Bay. The whale, which researchers know by the number 2645, was diving and feeding with at least 10 other whales. The Center for Coastal Studies sent a disentanglement team in a boat to get a closer look.

The team noticed another whale, which is know by the nickname Wart, that also had rope caught in its jaws. Both whales appeared to be feeding normally, despite the rope. However, scars on the whales indicated that the entanglement was once more severe, officials said.

This year that have been four reported right whale entanglements off the East Coast, including the pair spotted Tuesday."

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