NOAA is searching for an entangled humpback whale near Juneau

A NOAA-led team of responders is seeking information on the location of an entangled humpback whale trailing 150 feet of yellow line and pink and orange basketball-sized buoys in near Seymour Canal in Southeast Alaska.

A NOAA-led team of responders is seeking information on the location of an entangled humpback whale trailing 150 feet of yellow line and pink and orange basketball-sized buoys in near Seymour Canal in Southeast Alaska.

An adult humpback whale, last seen on the east side of Admiralty Island, is tangled in an anchor line, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is trying to find and free it.

According to a NOAA press release, the 40-foot-long whale became entangled in the anchor line near Admiralty at about 8:30 a.m. Wednesday. A “multi-agency” team comprising five people — two from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, two from NOAA Fisheries and one from the Alaska Marine Mammal Stranding Network — arrived on the scene a few hours to free the whale.

When the team arrived on scene Wednesday, they found the whale swimming in circles, pulling the yellow floating anchor line and several orange and pink buoys. Though the team members tried to detangle the whale, poor weather prevented them from successfully freeing it from the anchor line. They ended the rescue attempt at about 5:30 p.m., according to the release.

The team was able to take a blubber sample, so that it can try to identify the whale. NOAA reported that, with the exception of the anchor line trailing it, the whale looked healthy.

It was last seen swimming south near Windfall Harbor in Seymour Canal, about 30 miles south of Juneau. NOAA is asking anybody who sees the whale to call the Alaska Marine Mammal Stranding Network Hotline at 877-925-7773 to report its whereabouts. Anybody who sees the whale should stay at least 100 yards away from the whale to avoid becoming entangled in the line, NOAA wrote in its release.

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