HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Marine experts are hoping to find an entangled humpback whale off the coast of the Big Island, before it's too late. A synthetic line is wrapped around the whale's tale several times and is attached to a red buoy.
Efforts to free the whale started last Friday, after it was first reported to state and federal agencies on the windward side of the Island, northeast of Hilo.
It was seen again Sunday by various tour boats near Kailua-Kona.
The whale is 45-feet long and weighs 45 tons.
"We see a lot of scars on the whales, that tells us that the frequency of entanglement is fairly high but it also tells us that they get out of it on their own. Well, with what we've seen with this animal, this animal is likely not to get through the gear on its own. It'sgoing toa need our help," says Ed Lyman, resource protection manager for the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary.
Lyman says the whale isn't able to use its tail and is depending on flippers instead to get around.
He says they do have some time, but hope to find the whale soon.
"They typically do not immediately drown," he says, "Starvation over time (is the) long-term impact."
Lyman warns people against taking matters into their own hands and trying to free the whale.
If you spot the entangled whale, call NOAA at 888-256-9840.