In a recent and concerning discovery, a humpback whale entangled in a rope has been observed in Donegal Bay, Ireland. The Irish Whale And Dolphin Group (IWDG) brought this distressing situation to the attention of the public through their social media channels.
According to experts from IWDG, the entangled rope appears to be cutting into the whale's tail fluke and may have been in place for an extended period. While the whale's overall body condition is not currently a cause for immediate concern, the entanglement poses serious risks to the animal's health and well-being.
Humpback whale entanglements like this are increasingly being recognized as a significant issue in various parts of the world. To address this growing problem, IWDG has been actively working on assessing the risk of entanglement in pot ropes within Irish waters.
This particular humpback whale is not part of IWDG's known database and has been assigned a new catalog number, #126. It's important to note that this whale differs from the individuals regularly photographed in Donegal Bay in recent months.
While the situation is concerning, it is not currently possible to restrict the whale's movements in order to remove the entangled rope. Instead, IWDG plans to closely monitor the whale's progress in the hope that it may eventually free itself from the rope. If necessary, intervention measures may be considered to assist the whale.
The discovery of an entangled humpback whale underscores the urgent need for continued efforts to protect marine life and address the risks they face from human activities, including entanglement in fishing gear.
IWDG expressed its gratitude to filmmaker Kev L. Smith for providing images and records related to the entangled whale. Such documentation is crucial for ongoing monitoring and potential conservation efforts.
This incident serves as a reminder of the challenges marine species encounter in their natural habitats and emphasizes the importance of proactive conservation measures to safeguard these magnificent creatures.
In a separate but equally exciting development, Northern bottlenose whales were recently spotted in Bantry Bay, Co. Cork. These whales, known for their distinct appearance with large foreheads and pronounced melons, are part of the deep-diving beaked whale family. They are capable of remarkable dives, reaching depths of up to 1,500 meters and staying submerged for extended periods.
The sightings of these majestic marine animals highlight the incredible biodiversity of Irish waters, underscoring the need for continued efforts to protect and preserve these precious ecosystems.
The IWDG and other conservation organizations remain committed to studying and safeguarding Ireland's marine life, ensuring that these remarkable creatures can thrive in their natural environment.
Source: Lauren K. (September 6, 2023). 'VERY SAD' Humpback whale entangled in rope spotted in Irish waters as shock image emerges. The Irish Sun. https://www.thesun.ie/news/11296553/humpback-whale-entangled-rope-donegal-bay-irish-shock/
Photo is from IWADG