Whale snared in fishing net welcomes rescuers… and thanks them!

In recent decades, humpback whale populations have rebounded. However, these amazing marine mammals still face threats, getting caught in fishing lines being one of the most serious. A giant humpback tangled in a crab net was fortunate that some people were willing to spend hours in the water working to save it.

The drama took place near the Farallon Islands, off the coast of San Francisco. The net was effectively a 3,000-pound anchor attached to the humpback’s tail — even a large whale like this was only going to be able to save itself from drowning for so long.

Fortunately, James Moskito and his crew were on the scene and eager to do everything they could to rescue the whale. Although the whale was a wild animal, it clearly wanted help and knew that these people were there to provide it. As Moskito described the effort, “It was grab ropes, grab ropes, tie ’em in a knot, cut ’em, cut ’em, sink ’em.” The whale was incredibly cooperative, keeping its mouth open while members of Moskito’s crew pulled out lengths of rope that had become caught in the baleen.

After five hours of hard work, the humpback was finally free. It swam around its rescuers for a little bit, doing figure eights; presumably the whale’s way of thanking them. Then it dove deep. Moskito has vivid memories of what happened next: “Looking down into the water, the next thing I know this whale is coming right up at me. It was like a slow-moving bus. And it stopped, literally stopped six inches away from my chest and nudged me forward like your household dog does if he wants to be petted.”

Check out the video posted below to learn more about how this whale cooperated with its rescuers and then thanked them. We’d love to hear what you thought in the comment section below the video. Don’t forget to like and share!