UKUMEHAME, Maui (KHON2) — A yearling humpback whale is free after ocean wildlife officials removed a life-threatening entanglement of approximately 140 feet of line wrapped around its tail.

On Wednesday, Jan. 26, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) led a team to remove all the gear, as well as a buoy trailing about 60 feet behind the entangled animal in the waters off Ukumehame on Maui.

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The entangled whale was first reported by a PacWhale Eco-Adventures vessel — the Ocean Odyssey.

NOAA reported a single wrap of small-gauge, yellow line was wrapped around the whale’s tailstock and fluke blades. Although the whale was in “good” condition, officials noticed that the entanglement began to cut into its flesh, deeming it to be life-threatening.

After locating the entangled whale, NOAA stated their team was able to approach it and use a “hooked knife attached to a pole” to safely cut it free.

Ocean wildlife officials are now analyzing the gear to determine where it may have originated from.

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People who see an entangled or injured marine animal should report it as soon as possible by calling the NOAA Marine Wildlife Hotline at 1-888-256-9840. For more information, click here.