Marine mammal officials rescued a humpback whale near Maui by removing line wrapped around the animal’s mouth, head and right pectoral fin.
The Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary says the emaciated whale was freed off Lahaina on Wednesday. A response team collected hundreds of feet of small gauge line afterward.
The sanctuary says the whale could have died if the gear wasn’t removed.
Officials were tracking the whale after it was spotted off Hawaii Island last week. A response team attached a transmitter package to the entangled gear on Sunday.
A whale watch tour boat spotted the whale off Lahaina Wednesday morning and stood by until a response team arrived at 9:20 a.m.
Sanctuary programs administrator Fiona Langenberger says the whale’s age is unknown.