Wildlife officers working to help tangled whale
WILDLIFE officers are working together to see if they can help a whale tangled with rope that approached a kayaking tour group off Double Island Point on Wednesday morning.
The whale's plight was heard when tour guide Tyron van Santen of Epic Ocean Tours jumped in the water and carefully unwrapped rope from one of the whale's dorsal fins but could not help further when he saw the rope was also in the whale's mouth.
The juvenile humpback whale then took off from the group, heading for the surf break.
Mr van Santen contacted Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service rangers, who monitored it from the beach and alerted the Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol.
"While every possible assistance will be provided to this animal there is no guarantee of a successful outcome," a Department of Environment and Heritage Protection spokeswoman told The Gympie Times late Thursday.
"The whale is currently moving between Rainbow Beach and Double Island Point," she confirmed.
She said the incident is a timely reminder for ocean-users to be mindful of how they store and dispose of gear because of the impact it can have on whales and other wildlife.
Mr van Santen, who was in awe of his experience and concerned for the whale's welfare, said people need to be aware of their environment.
"We should just make sure we are only leaving our footprints, nothing else that can endanger or injure an animal."
The EHP also strongly advises people do not directly intervene with marine animals in distress because of the very real risk of zoonotic diseases as well as the possibility of injury.
If people see a marine animal entangled in shark control equipment it is important they report it immediately to the Sharkwatch Hotline on 1800 806 891
Injured or sick marine animals should be reported to the RSPCA on 1300 264 625.