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Whale, Turtle Saved From Entanglement off New England Coast

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(Credit: PCCS image. Taken under NOAA CFR 222.310, with authority of the ESA)

(Credit: PCCS image. Taken under NOAA CFR 222.310, with authority of the ESA)

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PROVINCETOWN (CBS) – A team from the Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies rescued two different endangered marine animals, a leatherback turtle and a humpback whale, from entanglements on Thursday.

After a recreational boater off Sesuit Harbor in Dennis reported an entangled leatherback turtle Thursday afternoon, the Marine Animal Entanglement team was immediately dispatched from Provincetown Harbor to evaluate the animal.  The team freed the 700-pound leatherback turtle from the entanglement.

As the team was returning from the turtle response, it received another report of an entangled animal.  The report came from whale-watch vessels Granite State and Blue Ocean Society out of Portsmouth, NH.  The whale, a young humpback, was moving slowly across Jeffreys Ledge.  The team headed out of Cape Cod Bay and north to the waters offshore of New Hampshire, where they found the whale suffering from a long-term entanglement.

The entangled whale was actually first reported on June 30th, but the response team was unable to re-locate the whale until Thursday.  This time, the team was able to free it.

Of the approximately 900 whales in the Gulf of Maine humpback whale population, more than half have experienced an entanglement in their lifetime and 8-25 percent acquire new entanglement scars annually.

The PCCS disentanglement team thanked both Blue Ocean Society and Granite State Whale Watch for their support in this operation. 

Any whale watchers who spot this whale again are urged to document its condition.

If you spot any entangled marine animal in Southern New England, call the PCCS at 1-800-900-3622.

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