Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Orca caught in a fishing line off New Zealand saved by diver cutting it free

An orca was tangled in a fisherman's crayfish pot line in Coromandel Peninsula, New Zealand, and other orcas were at a loss to free it. But they certainly tried.

Teeth marks around the struggling orca's neck indicated other orcas had attempted to free the killer whale, though without success.

Recognizing the trouble the orca was in, diver Rhys Cochrane dove down below the surface and cut the line from its tail.

"Just before I dove down to cut the line, about five other orcas, including one massive bull, came around, and that's when I started getting a little bit scared," Cochrane said. Experts say the orcas knew the diver was trying to help, and once the killer whale was cut free, they all swam off together.

KABC reported that the orca had become tangled in the crayfish pot line and dragged the pot for several hundred yards. In the video of the rescue (shown above in an excellent report from KABC), you can see and hear as the orca struggles to get air.

This orca story reminds us of the incredible story about how a humpback whale was rescued from gillnets in the Sea of Cortez and showed its appreciation once set free. This story is worth a read, too.

Check out these interesting posts on Outdoors 720:
Killer whale imitates a boat motor in killer video
Baby finless porpoise rescued from rice field flooded by tsunami
Underwater videos of killer whales

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