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Whale that has been tangled over fishing gear for more than a year is spotted

Wildlife authorities in Georgia have said a whale that was trapped in fishing nets for more than a year has been spotted offshore.

Snow Cone, as the whale has been named by Georgiaā€™s Department of Natural Resources (DNR), was seen off the coast of Georgiaā€™s Cumberland Island on 2 December.

The whale, which was first spotted and identified in March 2021, was at the centre of a number of failed attempts at removing fishing nets it was entrapped by.

However, according to Georgia DNRā€™s wildlife division, Snow Cone now has a few ropes around it and was ā€œnot entrappedā€.

She was also seen with a new calf, almost 18 months after she lost her firstborn as a result of being hit by two vessels, authorities said.

North Atlantic Right Whales are a critically endangered species and rarely seen off Georgiaā€™s coasts. Entrapment is among the biggest threats facing the animals.

ā€œThe calf is new and the second documented in the Southeast this season,ā€ said the Wildlife Resources Division of Georgia DNR on social media.

ā€œItā€™s not entangled, but has been observed swimming in, through and around the ropes. General opinion is that they are short enough that the calf likely wonā€™t become entangled if everything remains as is.ā€

The sighting of the calf means Snow Cone was able to successfully birth and care for a calf despite the few ropes still entangling her.

Reports suggested that over 300 feet of fishing line was removed by wildlife authorities during the attempts to disentangle her.

ā€œPlease help keep them safe while out boating along the East Coast. If you see one, heed the law and stay at least 500 yards away,ā€ the Wildlife Resources Division, Georgia DNR added.

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