WATCH: Good Samaritans Rescue Humpback Whale Tangled Up in Fishing Gear

by Shelby Scott
(Photo by LOIC VENANCE/AFP via Getty Images)

Though some people might find their size intimidating, humpback whales are some of the ocean’s most docile inhabitants. And it’s that fact that makes finding them entangled in human garbage even more disheartening. However, with humans increasingly aware of—and distraught by—the amount of garbage filling our oceans, one team of rescuers managed to free a distressed humpback whale from a mess of tangled fishing line. Check out the footage from the uplifting save below.

According to CNN, Canadian rescuers connected with well-intentioned local fishermen to free the whale from its captive strings. The video begins honed in on two humpback whales swimming side by side. However, we almost immediately spot the danger as rescuers pull long lengths of fishing line from the animal’s mouth.

Sticking close to the local fishermen, rescuers managed to cut the line loose from the whale’s mouth. With the line broken, the clip’s final moments see the mammal dive below the blue-green water on the surface. He then plunges deeper into the ocean, disappearing from view.

Though mighty in size—reaching up to 60 feet in length and achieving maximum weights of up to 80,000 pounds—whales are just one of many ocean dwellers suffering the negative impact of human waste filling up our oceans.

Right Whales Facing Threat of Extinction Due to Human Negligence

There is a multitude of ocean species threatened with extinction thanks to human negligence. And one of them is the right whale.

An ongoing analysis of injured and ill right whales has recorded 36 individuals as part of a tragic mortality event. Their rate of mortality has increased so significantly that it’s begun to threaten the species with extinction.

Analysis of the mass mortality event began in 2017. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) believes the cases of illness and injury in the ocean dwellers were caused by either vessel strikes, entanglements, or injuries from an unknown source.

The office of protected resources has recorded 91 right whale deaths in total so far. These deaths took place off of the Canadian and American coasts. Kim Damon-Randall, director of the agency, spoke with urgency about the right whales’ current realities. And she further elaborated on humans’ connection to these mortality rates.

“These sublethal impacts, although not necessarily life-threatening, may be impeding health, growth, and reproduction of individual whales,” Damon-Randall explained, “and therefore recovery of the North Atlantic right whale species as a whole.”

Though experts have recorded 91 deaths during the analysis so far, the NOAA believes that number could be even greater.

“The real number of right whales impacted by human interactions is likely much larger,” the NOAA said. “Scientists have estimated that, on average, about only one-third of North Atlantic right whale mortalities are actually detected.”

Even more disheartening, the New York Post states experts put the North Atlantic right whale population at just 350 individuals, with just 70 females left to help regrow the population.