Rescuers Free Humpback Whale Tangled in Fishing Gear While Her Calf Looks on — Watch Video

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) removed an estimated 550 feet of fishing equipment from a humpback whale's mouth and head off the coast of West Maui, Hawaii

A mother humpback whale that had been swimming with hundreds of feet of fishing line tangled around her body is finally free.

On Feb. 14, Valentine's Day, rescuers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) showed an ailing humpback whale some love by freeing the marine mammal from hundreds of feet of fishing equipment, per an NOAA release obtained by Storyful.

According to NOAA, it took rescuers six hours to remove an estimated 550 feet of fishing line and marine debris that had become tangled around the whale's head and mouth.

The agency released a video from the rescue effort, which took place in the waters off West Maui, Hawaii, including footage of NOAA responders using poles to remove the ropes wrapped around the mother whale. The tangled humpback's calf and a male humpback escort kept her company while rescuers removed the fishing gear.

NOAA untangles whale
NOAA via Storyful

After rescuers removed the heavy equipment, "the mother and her calf went into resting behavior, with the calf tucking under the mother's chin," according to NOAA's release.

The agency added that both the humpback whale and her calf have a better chance of surviving in the wild now that the mother animal is untangled.

NOAA is trained to respond to whale entanglements and has the permits required to assist marine mammals. According to ABC News, it is a federal crime to approach a humpback whale if you are not permitted to do so.

Not all animals get the opportunity to get untangled after encountering fishing gear. A critically endangered North Atlantic right whale gave birth entangled in fishing rope and is still caught in the equipment because it is too unsafe for the whales and responders to attempt a rescue.

NOAA is keeping tabs on the whale, dubbed Snow Cone, and her calf. The agency recently spotted the pair off the coast of Florida. While the mother whale right whale is still entangled, both her and her calf were reportedly in good health, according to NOAA.

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