Endangered Species: Fisherman Rescues Tangled Whale 50 Miles Off Coast [VIDEO]

Northern Right Whale
(Photo : REUTERS/Maxi Jonas) Right Whales are the most endangered among the large whale species.

Local fisherman rescued an endangered Northern Right Whale tangled in a fishing rope about 50 miles off the Virginia coast.

Captain Pat Foster and Adrian Colaprete were fishing aboard the Wave Runner when they saw something strange: two buoys at sea were moving closer together against the current. As they cruised up to the scene, they discovered a Northern Right Whale tangled in a fishing rope.

Colaprete, an experienced diver, jumped into the water and cut the line, freeing the whale while the fishing gear sank to the bottom of the ocean, the Science Recorder reports.

Foster said the rescue was a happy ending. "He [Colaprete] cut one of the lines and freed him. All the gear went down to the bottom. Whale safely sailed away," Foster told WAVY.

Northern Right Whales are the most endangered of large whales. There are only several hundred Northern Right Whales accounted for in the wild. According to the Science Recorder, populations have not increased since 1949, when their protection began. 

Northern Right Whales have been on the brink of extinction for centuries, however. A popular supplier of oil and baleen, whalers depleted the population in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries.

Rebounding population takes time. Female whales do not sexually mature until the age of ten, and only give birth to a single calf after a year-long pregnancy.

Watch the video of the rescue below.


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