‘Hogtied’ humpback whale saved from great white shark attack

16 Jul 2015

A team of scientists in the US fought to successfully free a “hogtied” humpback whale while a great white shark circled and took chunks out of its side.

The injured and incapacitated chap was almost mistaken for a resting whale as it floated at the surface of Stellwagen Bank in Provincetown, Massachusetts last weekend, before ropes were noticed around its tail and mouth.

The 15-foot shark was attacking the whale on its left-hand side, so the crew couldn’t get in the water to help.

The wonderfully named Marine Animal Entanglement Response team (MAER) at the Centre for Coastal Studies (CCS) were the heroes, untangling the rope from aboard their 35-foot response vessel called Ibis.

Once the rope was cut from around the whale’s mouth, and it became more responsive, the shark headed off on his/her merry way.

That meant the crew could get into a smaller boat to get closer and get the rest of the ropes untangled, with the “very lucky” whale swimming off quickly once fully released.

“This whale is very lucky,” said Scott Landry, director of MAER. “It probably would have been killed by the shark if we had not freed it.”

In other shark-related news, here’s a video of a shark beaching in Cape Cod, quite nearby, over the same weekend. Incredibly, it was rescued by throwing water over it and dragging it back out to sea…

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic