In some heart-warming news, a rare right whale, fondly known as ‘Ruffian’, was rescued by biologists with Florida and Georgia wildlife agencies about 20-30 miles off the coast of the Florida-Georgia state line. The endangered North Atlantic right whale was spotted trapped in fishing gear, while the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission were conducting an aerial survey.
It was alarming for the spotters to see ropes coming out of both sides of Ruffian’s mouth. There was also fishing gear trailing behind the endangered whale. FWC, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and NOAA Fisheries collaborated to free the entangled whale.
Now it’s not easy to free a 40-foot-long whale. Using a special knife, the biologists cut the rope, retrieving the rope and to their surprise, a large round net/trap the whale was dragging.
While they were unsure that the whale is completely free from the fishing gear but the rescue team did not see anything else on the whale, NOAA stated in a news release.
About the Critically Endangered Right whale
There are only about 500 right whales who migrate to the waters off the Florida and Georgia coasts each winter. Pregnant right whales travel down the Atlantic Coast to give birth in the warmer waters. Sometime juveniles and males accompany the expectant mothers.
Right whales like the North Atlantic right whale are among the rarest of all marine mammal species. These baleen whales have two separate populations – western and eastern. Commercial whaling decimated the species in the early 1900s. Today, only around 450 North Atlantic right whales remain.
North Atlantic right whales are about 50 feet long and weigh about 70 tons. They have a stocky, black body, no dorsal fin and bumpy patches of rough skin, called callosities, on their head.