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Whale rescue team ready

News release
10 September 2015

When whales migrate through South Australia’s waters, the Eyre Peninsula Whale Disentanglement Team, comprised of Fisheries Officers, Adelaide Dolphin Sanctuary and Natural Resources staff, is on standby to rescue any animals that become entangled or beached in a stranding event.

The team is responsible for any entangled whale passing through the state’s waters and was ready to respond if needed.

There is the potential that whales and other marine wildlife can become caught in marine debris such as plastic, ropes, nets and fishing line, which slows their movement and threatens their lives.

Marine Parks Officer Dirk Holman said whales that that became entangled had difficulty diving for food, rising to breathe or swimming in general.

“We have seen cases overseas and interstate where whales have become anchored to the seabed by ropes or netting caught on rocks or coral on the sea-floor,” Mr Holman said.

“This causes significant danger to the life of the animal and that’s where we come in. The disentanglement team has a vital role to play in rescuing these distressed animals, which can range in size from humpback whales to bottlenose dolphins.

“It’s a challenging job and one for which specialist training and great commitment are required.”

“The skills and techniques required to rescue the animal and deal with the dangers means we train hard every year to make sure we are ready for any incident,” Mr Holman said.

“Vital funding for the training comes from the Australian Government Department of the Environment and the South Australian Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources.”

The team, stationed around Eyre Peninsula and Adelaide, undergoes training each year to deal with the specific dangers associated with such huge animals.

If you see a marine mammal in distress, do not approach it. Please report it immediately by calling the Eyre Peninsula National Parks and Wildlife Duty Ranger on 8688 3223.

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More information

Communications Officer

8688 3111

dewnr.nrepadmin@sa.gov.au