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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Record number of entangled rare whales this winter

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By Beth Daley, Globe Staff

An unprecedented number of North Atlantic right whales have been found tangled in fishing rope this winter off Georgia and Florida – and scientists are searching where the marine giants that summer off New England may have picked up the gear.

Normally, scientists report one or two entangled right whales in the Southeast each year. But this year, five have been spotted. While three were disentangled - the latest success took place yesterday as researchers carefully cut rope from near the head of a whale off Georgia - two other leviathans still have rope wrapped around them.

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Photo: An entangled right whale (Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission under NOAA Permit #932-1489)

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