Whale calf's heartbreaking struggle tangled in Queensland shark net
Two more whales have been caught in nets that form part of the Queensland Government's controversial shark control program.
Heartbreaking vision supplied to Yahoo News Australia shows a mother humpback and her calf struggling off the coast of Wurtulla, near the Sunshine Coast suburb of Caloundra on Friday morning.
They are the 13th and 14th whales to be caught this migration season.
Sea Shepherd Australia’s Lauren Sandeman said the pair have been trapped since at least 5am this morning, as she spoke to Yahoo News Australia at 9.30am (AEST) rescue teams had only recently arrived to assist them.
“We’re hearing the mother is struggling to try and keep the baby afloat in the net,” she said.
Another expert supported this assessment, adding that it appears the stressed mother whale is attempting to help her calf breathe.
Vision supplied by local drone pilot Stephen Larder shows the mother underneath her calf, trying to raise it out of the water for air.
She later raises its head up out of the water to help keep it alive.
Queensland government urged to remove shark nets
Describing the situation as “completely shameful”, Ms Sandeman said the Queensland government must act on the advice it has received and from its own expert panel and remove the nets during whale migration season.
She said Queensland is 40 years behind NSW in terms of removing shark nets, to help prevent entanglements.
Shark net opponents Envoy accused the Palaszczuk government of "(choosing) to completely ignore these incidents" while "(continuing) to pretend shark nets keep people safe".
"Regardless of your stance on shark nets, any reasonable person understands that making an animal suffer in this way is incredibly cruel," campaigner Rose Marimon said.
Humane Society International biologist Lawrence Chlebeck described the mother and calf entanglement as a "worst case scenario".
"The shark nets must be removed in favour of new technological solutions, already successfully trialed by Queensland and NSW Governments, that can better reduce the risk of shark bite without endangering migrating humpbacks and killing dolphins and turtles," he said.
"There's a better way."
Update: The mother and calf were released just after 11am, Sea Shepherd confirmed.
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