Wildlife officers have freed a humpback whale which was tangled in rope north-west of Geraldton.
The 8m whale, which had rope tangled around its tail and towing two large orange buoys, was first spotted north of Kalbarri on Sunday. There were further sightings over the next two days near Horrocks Beach, north of Geraldton.
A Department of Parks and Wildlife disentanglement team was sent to the area on Tuesday but was unable to locate the whale until it was spotted from the air 20 nautical miles off the Geraldton coast yesterday afternoon.
Midwest regional manager Anthony Desmond said the animal was assessed before the disentanglement team was able to cut away the rope.
“The ropes were wrapped twice around the whale’s peduncle area and around each of its tail flukes,” Mr Desmond said.
“It was a delicate operation as we were dealing with an animal that weighs thousands of kilograms, so it was important that human safety was addressed first.
“The team was able to cut it away using specialist equipment so it was a great result and the best possible outcome for this whale.
“We monitored the whale after the disentanglement and while it was very tired, it was swimming strongly and its prognosis is good.”
People who see an entangled or beached whale should keep a safe distance from the animal and contact the Wildcare Helpline on 9474 9055.