Disentanglement of a whale is by no means the end of their problems.
According to Dr Bob Bowman - an American expert on whale disentanglement,
- disentanglement is only the first step in the recovery of an
entangled whale. Entangled whales sustain significant bruising
and even sometimes life threatening internal injuries that are
imperceptible without a necropsy. It is very difficult to determine
the extent and effect of injuries on entangled whales and they
are frequently surprised about which whales survive entanglement
trauma and which ones do not.
humpback whale that became entangled in fishing nets was freed
by members of the South African Whale Disentaglement Network (SAWDN)
of Cape Point
on 21 June 2011. Rescuers are seen here trying to cut the ropes
of the whale.
Picture by Chad Chapman
Mike Meyer, Director of Operations and Training together with colleagues, regularly trains new volunteers as well as running refresher courses in various key areas around the coast.
All these areas (19 at present) now have trained volunteers ready to go out to entangled whales at a momentís notice. It has taken a great deal of time and effort to get this far. The Network is also fortunate to have the use of National Sea Rescue Instituteís (NSRI) boats and volunteers when needed.
Human safety comes first. This is a condition laid down in SAWDN’s
SAWDN continues to go well and its efficient operation has been
praised by overseas countries that have similar disentanglement
Session: Volunteers at Simon's Town Harbour
SAWDN team from OCEANS & COASTS, Department Environment disentangling whales.
Photos: Oceans & Coasts
The SAWDN acts as the official representative for whale disentanglement in South Africa and abides by the protocols and procedures recommended by the International Whaling Commission (IWC) Workshop on Whale Entanglement.