SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - An endangered North Atlantic right whale was recently rescued off Georgia's coast.
According to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources' Wildlife Resources Division, a whale survey aircraft found the whale, named "Ruffian," about 20 miles east of Cumberland Island on Jan. 5. The whale was entangled with heavy fishing rope through his mouth. Rescuers got to him just before dark on Jan. 5 and attached a tracking buoy. The rescuers returned on Jan. 6 and successfully freed Ruffian.
Ruffian had been carrying more than 450 feet of commercial fishing rope and a 135-lb. trap/pot. The rescue was caught on camera.
To watch part two of the video, click here.
Officials say the North Atlantic right whale is one of the most endangered marine mammals in the world, with a population of approximately 400. Commercial whaling in the late 1800s decimated the whales. Since whaling was banned in 1935, mortality from ship collisions and entanglement in commercial fishing gear has limited the population's recovery.
To learn more about North Atlantic right whales, visit georgiawildlife.com.