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Rescue team frees entangled North Atlantic right whale in St. Lawrence

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A whale rescue team has successfully disentangled a young right whale that was wrapped in fishing gear in the St. Lawrence estuary near Rimouski, Que. 

The federal Fisheries Department says the Campobello Whale Rescue Team was able to reach the young animal on Wednesday and remove most of the rope that was hindering it. 

The department and marine rescue groups had been working for more than two weeks to disentangle the animal, which was first spotted June 22 off the coast of New Brunswick.

It was located again on Wednesday with the help of Fisheries and Oceans Canada boats and aircraft, as well as a GPS beacon that had been attached to the rope during an earlier attempt.

The New England Aquarium has said the animal is believed to be a female calf, approximately one-and-a-half years old, that was born in 2023 to a whale named "War."

The North Atlantic right whale is one of the most endangered large whale species in the world, with United States conservation officials saying there are about 360 of the animals in existence.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 11, 2024.

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