Have You Seen Him? Search Ongoing for Gray Whale Entangled in a Metal Frame
The search for a gray whale that got caught in a metal fishing frame is currently ongoing.
Orange County Register reported that it was Captain Frank Brennan who first spotted the distressed whale on Saturday.
The report said Brennan, who is also a member of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's disentanglement team, was leading a whale-watching tour when he saw the poor whale swimming north along Southern California's coast. He said the metal frame with "lines" was lodged on its head and it appeared evasive.
He immediately reported the sighting to NOAA's marine mammal stranding network coordinator Justin Viezbicke and Captain Dave Anderson who leads the entanglement team.
Brennan followed the direction of the whale until Anderson took over. Anderson followed the whale until sunset, but did not deploy his tracking buoy as it might cause more harm to the whale.
"We felt very uncertain about what damage it would cause to the whale with this unusual entanglement," Anderson told the news paper. "With darkness closing in, we thought it was best to document the last location and hope for the best tomorrow."
Los Angeles Times reported meanwhile that while the search is ongoing, Viezbicke said rescuers are trying to figure out a proper way to remove the metal frame without hurting the animal. They are also looking to identify if the framing belongs to a fishery.
On Tuesday, KEYT reported that the entangled whale reached Santa Barbara's shores. Michael Smith, one of the "Gray Whales Count" volunteers, said it was with another whale who appeared to be looking after its friend.
The whale could be off Pt. Lobos as early as 12:30 p.m. on Thursday. The numbers of reported whale entanglement events has increased dramatically in recent years, California Whale Rescue noted. In 2015, reported entanglements in California surpassed 25.
Any sighting should be reported to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's entanglement reporting hotline at (877) 767-9425. People are encouraged to take photos of the whale, but directed to not remove the metal frame themselves as it might hurt the animal more.