Humpback whale successfully disentangled off the Washington coast

August 2019

A trained team freed an entangled humpback whale near Tatoosh Island at the tip of Washington’s Olympic Peninsula Thursday night, removing ropes that had hog-tied the whale between its mouth and tail.

The entangled whale was first reported just before noon Thursday, Aug. 8, by Todd’s Extreme Fishing, who stayed with the whale to monitor its location until the Makah Tribe and U.S. Coast Guard arrived to take over the watch. The assistance was essential in keeping track of the whale’s condition and location while a response team mobilized and arrived on the scene.

“They did exactly the right thing by keeping their distance and watching the whale so the team could quickly find it,” said Kristin Wilkinson, regional coordinator of NOAA Fisheries’ Pacific Northwest Large Whale Entanglement Response Network.

The team that included members from SR3: Sealife Response, Rehabilitation, and Research; Cascadia Research Collective; the Makah Tribe; Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife; and World Vets. Response teams must complete extensive training and work under a NOAA Fisheries permit because disentangling large whales can be difficult and dangerous.

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Untangling the whale was complicated because ropes running between its mouth and tail had left it hogtied at the surface, said Doug Sandilands of SR3, who helped lead the response. It was unclear whether the ropes had been attached to a crab trap or other fishing gear.

The team cut the lines at key points to remove almost all the line except for a small section that remained in the whale’s mouth but will likely fall out on its own.

The whale appeared to be in good condition and was swimming normally after the team removed the ropes.

NOAA Fisheries thanks the Makah Tribe, U.S. Coast Guard, SR3, Cascadia Research Collective, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Marine Mammal Investigations, World Vets, and Todd’s Extreme Fishing for assisting the effort, which was conducted under NOAA Fisheries’ Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program permit 18786-03.

Anyone spotting an entangled whale should report it to NOAA Fisheries’ 24/7 hotline by calling 877-SOS-WHALE (877-767-9425) or hailing the U.S. Coast Guard on VHF Channel 16. Please stay with the whale as long as it is safe to do so, but never attempt disentanglement or remove any gear without training and authorization. Please try to get video or photos showing the entangling gear but remember to stay 100 yards from the whale and watch for lines in the water.

Original Press Release from NOAA Fisheries:  click here

Marine Mammal Response

 

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Seal pup season is in full swing in Puget Sound and World Vets continues to work with network partners to provide response and veterinary support for marine mammal strandings. Earlier this week, we rescued this thin and debilitated harbor seal pup in the Gig Harbor area, working in collaboration with Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.  His location required a boat response and we were able to perform an initial health assessment and administer fluid therapy aboard our vessel.  He was later taken back to our marine mammal urgent care clinic where he was treated and hospitalized overnight.  By morning, his hydration was improved and he was much more alert.  He was transferred to PAWS for rehabilitation with the goal that he will be released back into the wild when he is recovered and old enough to feed on his own.

Moms and pups can be easily disturbed so please remember to give them space and stay back 100 yards.  Keep pets away and on a leash.  If you see a dead, injured or stranded marine mammal, please call and report it to the NOAA West Coast Marine Mammal Stranding Hotline at 1-866-767-6114.  Thank you for observing marine mammals in a safe and responsible way.

World Vets marine mammal work is authorized under a permit with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries and National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS)

 

A Successful Summer in Ecuador

World Vets International Veterinary Medicine (IVM) Program is our official student program. It is a multi – disciplinary training and cultural experience that enhances students education and also gives them a broader understanding of international veterinary medicine.

This summer our IVM Program took place in Ecuador. Hundreds of animals benefited for our free veterinary services, which included sterilization surgeries as well as community outreach field clinics that tended to both small animals and livestock.  See pictures

We’d like to thank our outstanding student and veterinary volunteers, local partners as well as our supporters for making this an amazing summer!

If you missed this opportunity, we still have student spots open on our IVM session scheduled in August. Find out more

World Vets takes part in New Horizons Guyana

World Vets currently has a veterinary team in Guyana providing free veterinary care as part of the New Horizons Training Exercise. World Vets is a proud partner of US Southern Command humanitarian aid operations. These missions have our teams work alongside US Army vets and techs, in addition to animal health care professionals and local veterinarians in host nations. We thank our dedicated volunteers for their service as well as New Horizons for this great opportunity to improve animal health and welfare in Guyana!

 

Seal Pup Season has Arrived in Washington

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Seal pup being examined and monitored at the World Vets clinic in Gig Harbor, WA

 

While we have been busy with many marine mammal stranding cases in Washington over the last few months, this little pup is our first harbor seal of the 2019 pupping season. Estimated to be 1-2 weeks old, the seal pup was found stranded on a public beach in Westport Washington.  Network partners Washington State Parks and Westport Aquarium secured the area to make sure he was not disturbed, posted signs and provided monitoring for 48 hours while he was on the beach.  His mom never returned and he was considered abandoned.  Working in collaboration with our network partners Cascadia Research Collective and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, he was brought in late Thursday night to the World Vets clinic in Gig Harbor for triage and stabilization. On arrival he was hypothermic, dehydrated and thin.  Working together with WDFW, we stabilized him and started fluid therapy and he was admitted for overnight hospitalization.  He was later transferred to PAWS for rehabilitation with the ultimate goal that he will be released back into the wild once he is healthy and ready to forage on his own.

As pupping season starts in Washington, it is important to remember to SHARE THE SHORE!  

-All marine mammals are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.  It is against the law to feed or harass them, which includes disrupting important behaviors such as rest, feeding, nursing or breeding.

-Give them space and stay back 100 yards from all marine mammals on shore.

-Keep pets on leash.  Pets can disturb wildlife or may separate mothers from their pups.  These are wild animals that can injure or spread disease to pets and humans.

-If you see a dead, injured or stranded marine mammal call:  866-767-6114

 

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