SeaWorld team cuts ropes off distressed whale

Spectators stand on the seawall to watch a gray whale that has been swimming near Dana Point Harbor for a couple of days in Dana Point , Calif., Wednesday, May 12, 2010. Officials say a Sea World disentanglement team has cut off two ropes and removed over 100 pounds of fishing net and other gear from a gray whale who has now returned to the ocean. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

May 12, 2010 6:56:36 PM PDT
Officials in California say a SeaWorld team has cut off two ropes and removed more than 100 pounds of fishing net and other gear tangled around a gray whale that has now returned to the Pacific Ocean.

Wildlife biologist Joe Cordaro with the National Marine Fisheries Service in Long Beach says the whale started swimming easier after the nets were removed.

Contrary to earlier reports that the whale appeared sick and ready to die, biologists believe the whale's condition improved dramatically as it swam away.

The whale was docile and calm during the rescue, despite television helicopters hovering above and hundreds of people watching from shore.

The team used a long pole with a sickle-shaped cutting blade on the end to untangle the whale.


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