Humpback Whale Rescue, February 2011

In February 2011, a video coverage of Cabo Expeditions rescuing a humpback whale was shown on several leading television programs all over the world. BBC England and Latin America (through BBC News), CBS (through The Early Morning Show), Televisa, SKY Net TV were among the major broadcast networks to feature the successful rescue effort.

The following details were released to the press by Cabo Expeditions.

PRESS RELEASE: On the morning of February 8th, 2011, an unfortunate humpback whale probably miles upon miles from shore was tangled up in a fisherman’s net. Sometimes, a whale’s natural tendency is to swim to shore, where they might get beached. In this instance, it seemed very likely that this adult male humpback whale was headed to the shore with a 75% chance of drowning or being beached, had Cabo Expeditions and the Mexican Navy not gotten to it in time.

Around 10 A.M. local time, a number of phone calls were made from local fishermen on their fishing boats and other whale watching companies to Cabo Expeditions about a whale in distress. Immediately, the SCUBA divers, boat captains and marine biologists prepared themselves. Administrators at Cabo Expeditions notified the Mexican Navy, with whom they work in conjunction concerning whale-rescue efforts.

Approximately 1 1/2 miles from the shore, in front of the RIU Hotel in Cabo San Lucas, an adult humpback whale, weighing approximately 35 tons and with a length of 40 feet, had its torso down to the tail wrapped in fishing net. Cabo Expeditions and the Mexican Navy were ready with a total of 10 people. One team of divers worked in unison with another team who placed buoys around the whale as it surfaced and dived down. The buoys were tied at either of end of a rope. Lightweight hooks were then attached to either side of the net, eventually allowing the whale to try and swim free. The process of cutting away the net had to be repeated until the whale was completely free.

By 12 noon, Cabo Expeditions, together with the Mexican Navy, had successfully freed the fortunate humpback whale. Oscar Ortiz, owner of Cabo Expeditions said, “Over the last 7 years now, we have been prepared as a company internally to help save and ultimately rescue whales. Thankfully, we have also been blessed by saving a total of 10 whales’ lives. The protection and preservation of these amazing animals is both our passion and mission in Los Cabos.”

Each year, thousands of whales migrate from the cooling arctic oceans to the warm waters surrounding the Baja peninsula where the Pacific Ocean meets with the Sea of Cortez. Annually, from the beginning of December through approximately the second week of April, Los Cabos becomes the Mecca for whale watching on water or sightings from land at local resorts or hotels.

These incredible mammals celebrate over a 10,000-mile journey each year. Once in a while, a whale will get tangled in a fishing net dozens of miles from the shore. For some time now, fishermen and their nets have been monitored in Mexico by a variety of governmental agencies who implement standardized regulations. Fishermen always abide by the fishing regulations but sometimes, a whale will not recognize the hazard and gets tangled inadvertently.

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