Protect Our Oceans

As her calf looks on, a whale mother is saved

Freed from fishing gear, there is now hope for Pinball and her baby

humpback whale and calf
J. Moore/NOAA | Public Domain
Photo of a humpback whale and calf off the coast of Hawaii

This past weekend, boaters off the coast of Cape Ann, Massachusetts, spotted a humpback whale in trouble. Pinball, a new mother, was seen struggling against fishing gear trapped in her mouth as her 8-month old calf swam nearby.

Pinball has been known to visit New England every summer and has gained a reputation as a “good mother” who has given birth to at least eight calves, New England Aquarium Scientist Amy Warren told CBS News.

Thankfully, Pinball’s story has a hopeful ending: an Entanglement Response Team from the Center for Coastal Studies was able to free Pinball from the fishing gear, and the Center’s prognosis for the pair was “much improved.”

While entanglements threatening the lives of highly endangered Right whales have generated the most attention in recent years, this incident highlights that large whales of all kinds must contend with the risks posed by fishing gear off the Eastern Seaboard.

It’s high time we move towards a future that it is safe for whales and their babies to frolic and feed off our coasts without the threat of a deadly entanglement.

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