A teenage humpback whale got into a mess of trouble on Sunday when he got stuck in an entanglement of 50 prawn traps and ropes near Powell River, British Columbia.
According to CBC News, boaters alerted Fisheries and Oceans Canada after spotting the distressed 1,100 pound juvenile male, which was being anchored to the ocean floor by the traps.
A rescue video shows the three-man team cutting away the ropes – which were wrapped around the animal’s tail, body, fins and mouth and apparently caused wounds. CBC News says the group worked toward the tail to ensure the whale wasn’t able to swim away until he was completely free.
“It was one of the worst entanglements I’ve ever seen,” Paul Cottrell of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans told CTV Vancouver. “It was basically hog-tied. [The rope] was around the tail, all the way up, and through the mouth.”
Without their help Cottrell said the whale would have died. The number of entanglement like these have grown, he added, as whale numbers have risen in recent years off the British Columbia coast.