HONOLULU (AP) - Hawaii wildlife officials freed a young humpback whale from fishing line that was wrapped around its tail.
The Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary said Thursday the line had cut deep wounds into the 30-foot whale. The weakened animal also had parasites and shark bites.
Officials say the line would have likely killed the whale if it wasn't removed.
They used knives attached to a long pole to remove most of the line from the whale off Maui on Wednesday. They hope the rest will come off over time.
This is the first whale to be disentangled since humpback whales have returned from their summer feeding grounds off Alaska.
A team from the sanctuary, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Hawaii Wildlife Fund freed the whale.