Monterey County

Whale entanglement team in need of more trackers

Efforts to locate second whale in distress unsuccessful

Rescue efforts for a whale spotted tangled in fishing lines, the second one in less than a week, have been unsuccessful. That's because crews are unable to locate it after initially spotting it last Thursday.

The GPS tracker called the telemetry buoy is the first thing crews put on a whale in distress, in order to track it in the ocean. The thing is, crews here only have one and that one is on the whale they saved earlier last week. The Marine Life Studies whale entanglement team have no way to track this second whale, believed to be a female humpback in distress .

When crews discovered the first whale in distress, they placed a telemetry buoy on it, so they could find it the next day, and untangle it.

"You never know if it will go under and move off quickly, at least we have that buoy on there so that we can track the whale. the problem this week, we had two in one week," said Peggy Stap, executive director and founder of Marine Life Studies.

Stap says when the second humpback whale was spotted late Thursday, they could have used another tracker.

"Since we used that buoy on Sunday, we didn't have a second one for the whale on Thursday," said Stap.

But these trackers are expensive, $8,000 each. With a grant, the one they have was purchased along with other equipment, many years ago.

"That $30,000 went like that, we couldn't afford to have two telemetry buoys, and at the time we didnt know we would need them, I mean obviously we've had two in one week," said Stap.

To get their only tracker back, crews are keeping a close eye on the first whale they helped last week. Early Monday that whale was near Morro Bay.

"We've been waiting for it to come near land and a port where we can go out and access it by the boats and finish the job," said Stap.

With no way to track the second whale, which is still entangled in fishing line, chances of finding it are slim.

"It just makes me very sad, just to see that poor whale, I just want to find it, and get the stuff of it so that it can be a whale again," said Stap.

Strong winds are also preventing crews from going out to get the tracker back. Stap said they there may be a window of time where weather will make it safe for the animal and crews.


The whale entanglement team survives off donations to buy equipment and do their rescue work. Click here to donate. Chose the Whale Entanglement Team of Central California in the drop down box under Campaign.

For more on the Marine Life Studies click here.

More on the Whale Entanglement Team (W.E.T.) can be found here

Donations can also be made by check, to Marine Life Studies and mail to P.O. Box 163, Moss Landing, CA 95039

All donations and gifts are 100 percent tax deductible.

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