Australian Whale Stuck in Shark Fishing Nets Freed by Rescuers

by Sean Griffin

In this insane viral footage, a whale gets freed from a shark-fishing net off Australia’s Gold Coast on Monday. The dramatic scene was captured in aerial video.

According to the Australia Broadcasting Company, multiple people called SeaWorld to alert them to the whale’s situation in Currumbin. 

The station spoke with SeaWorld’s head of marine sciences, Wayne Phillips. Phillips told ABC the whale appeared to be sick and was “full of lice.” Also, it contained an abscess on its back.

Phillips said rescue crews were called at about 6:30 a.m. local time. However, the problem ended up easier to fix than many previously thought.

“We ended up arriving and finding a whale slightly entangled. It wasn’t a great entanglement,” he said. Luckily, they were able to free the whale from the shark-fishing nets.

This isn’t the first time a whale has been caught in these shark nets this year. Earlier in July, two humpback whales reportedly were rescued from shark nets off the Queensland coast. Historically, getting caught in these nets have been a big problem for these majestic creatures.

Scientists Using ‘Codas’ to Communicate with Whales

Maybe Dr. Dolittle serves as a prophetic tale and not a fantasy one.

Scientists are using the clicking noises—or “codas”—of whales to help develop a key to their underwater language.

A team of international experts hopes to create a way for humans to communicate back to whales by decoding their language. During their efforts, Project CETI (Cetacean Translation Initiative) will use artificial intelligence called natural language processing. This processing will record and interpret roughly 4 billion Sperm whale codas.

From these codas, the team hopes to assign to communicate with the whales. However, if they succeed, the next step would be to deploy “chatbots.”

These bots will then attempt to engage in dialogue with the whales, which would be an unprecedented feat. Michael Bronstein, the lead of machine learning for Project CETI, reflected on this point in an interview with Hakai magazine.

“If we discover that there is an entire civilization basically under our nose — maybe it will result in some shift in the way that we treat our environment,” Bronstein said. “And maybe it will result in more respect for the living world.”

Since the plan has been implemented, many members compare their codas something akin to Morse code.

However, others think it remains more complex than that.

“These [mammals] make a clicking sound at varying frequencies when they are in the company of other whales,” Professor and CETI member Dan Tchernov said. “The question is, is this just a simple code or a true language? Right now, our database is not comprehensive enough to know the answer to this question.”