Search continues for humpback whale entangled off coast of Newcastle

The whale towing entangled under the surface of the water, off the coast of Newcastle on Thursday afternoon. Picture: Orrca

The whale towing entangled under the surface of the water, off the coast of Newcastle on Thursday afternoon. Picture: Orrca

Spotters looking for an entangled humpback whale off the coast of Newcastle haven’t seen the creature since Thursday afternoon.

Marine wildlife rescue organisation Orrca will continue its search over the weekend after the whale entered Newcastle Harbour on Thursday, tangled in a rope and towing an orange buoy, before heading back out to sea.

Windy conditions meant it was too dangerous for disentanglement crews to attempt to free the whale.

Orrca vice president Shona Lorigan said it was unclear which direction the whale had travelled because it was seen swimming in circles on Thursday.

“High waves and big winds make visibility very, very poor indeed,” she said.

In favourable conditions, highly trained disentanglement teams from the NSW Department of Primary Industries and National Parks and Wildlife Service would approach the whale in two boats and attempt to free it.

“It’s such a dangerous job,” Ms Lorigan said.

“A fully grown humpback is 45 tonnes and all of their power comes from the tail.

“When an animal is entangled, they are in pain, they are fearful, they are feeling threatened and they will lash out.”

Anyone who spots the whale should call Orrca’s hotline: 9415 3333.

The story Search continues for entangled whale first appeared on Newcastle Herald.

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