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Whale Tangled In Fishing Net Knows Exactly Where To Go For Help

This whale was in desperate need of help - and she knew just the place to find it.

Nathaniel Denton and his colleagues were making repairs on a boat harbored in Digby, Nova Scotia, this week when something in the water caught their eye. At first, they thought it was a dolphin coming into shore - but when they got a closer look, they realized it was actually a young humpback in distress.

"She swam right into this little cove where we were," Denton told The Dodo. "You could see there was a fishing net wrapped around her face."

Nathaniel Denton

Without hesitating, Denton and the others leapt to the rescue to cut her free. Amazingly, as if sensing their intention, the whale came close enough that reaching her was no trouble.

"We went down and jumped into the water with her," said Denton. "We only had to go out to our waists to cut the line."

Nathaniel Denton

The urgency of the situation was clear. Not only was the fishing net tangled around the whale's mouth, but its threads were cutting into the animal's skin. Still, she never panicked as the group approached to rescue her, despite the injury.

"It was just a scratch, comparatively," Denton said. "But it was amazing how calm she was throughout the entire process of cutting her free. It's like she knew we were helping. She didn't move or thrash. She just sat there and let us do our thing."

Nathaniel Denton

It only took a few minutes to complete the task of removing the net, leaving a wound that Denton said didn't seem life-threatening. Once free, the whale continued to linger among her rescuers for a moment longer before turning and swimming back out to sea.

"I think she'll be fine. She left very calmly and looked very strong," Denton said. "She was out of our sight in no time."

Nathaniel Denton

"I've never had an experience like this. She knew what she was doing," said Denton, adding that he was humbled by the whole experience. "It was a privilege to help, especially when you think about the level of understanding the whale seemed to have."