Entangled humpback whale's condition worsening in Bay of Fundy
Some rope embedded more than 7.5 cm deep into Foggy's body
Foggy the whale can't seem to catch a break.
The personable humpback, popular with Bay of Fundy whale watchers, is tangled in rope and her condition is worsening despite at least two rescues in her past.
Foggy is a fully mature humpback female that was first spotted in the bay in 1987, as a young calf travelling with her mom. She's returned almost every year since, sometimes with her own calves in tow.
This May, Foggy was spotted severely entangled off the coast of Gloucester, Mass.
A team of rescuers worked for nine hours to help free the 29-year-old whale from numerous two-and-a-half-centimetre thick ropes twisted around her body.
'We did everything humanly possible'
Scott Landry, director of the rescue team, said in a news release some of the rope was embedded more than seven and a half centimetres deep into her body.
"We dulled or broke every knife in our kit and every teammate worked their fingers to the bone for this whale," he said. "Short of removing the 40-ton whale from the ocean and performing surgery, we did everything humanly possible for this animal."
The team had to leave heavy rope embedded around the circumference of her body since removing that portion of her entanglement would likely have been immediately lethal, the news release stated without elaboration.
While her overall condition was poor, Foggy's prognosis was good at the time.
Icon of the Bay of Fundy
Shelley Lonergan said she's worried about how Foggy is faring now.
Lonergan researches whales and guides whale-watching tours with Brier Island Whale and Seabird Cruises. She's known Foggy since her visits as a calf and is able to identify the whale by distinct markings on the underside of her tail.
"She's really an icon here in the Bay of Fundy," Lonergan said.
She spotted Foggy in the Bay of Fundy last month, with some rope still wrapped around her. At the time, Foggy seemed to be doing well.
But Lonergan says since then, she's watched the whale grow thinner.
Whales come to the Bay of Fundy to stock up on food to survive winter and she's concerned that Foggy isn't able to do that due to her entanglement.
Lonergan says she's formed a special attachment to the whale over the years.
"You can't help but feel some kind of love towards these animals."
'She definitely would have drowned'
This isn't the first time Foggy's found herself in trouble.
In 2013, a whale rescue team out of Campobello rescued her off the coast of Nova Scotia after she became tangled in lines from abandoned lobster gear in the Bay of Fundy.
The ghost fishing gear was wrapped around the whale's body, mouth and tail and across its blowhole.
Chris Callaghan, a tour guide with Pirate's Cove, said at the time that Foggy would have definitely drowned without the rescue.
Instead, the tale had a happy ending and since then Foggy had been returning to the Bay, looking healthy and tangle-free.
Monitoring the situation
Given her current situation, several Bay of Fundy groups trained to disentangle whales are on standby and the Marine Animal Response Society in Halifax is monitoring Foggy's condition.
Tonya Wimmer, president of the Marine Animal Response Society, says whale rescues can be tricky in the Bay of Fundy due to its powerful tides and unpredictable weather.