Razor-Bladed Arrow Saves Ensnared Whale

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On Saturday, a modern-day William Tell shot an arrow tipped with four razor blades in Cape Cod Bay. The target? A right whale with rope stuck around its jaw. But because this is 2010, not 1810, the goal was to sever the rope from the ensnared whale, who, according to The Boston Globe, had been carrying it around for more than two years and was now at risk of infection. Previous attempts to cut the rope were unsuccessful.

So, a new technique was needed. Cue Scott Landry, director of the Marine Animal Entanglement Response Team and, apparently, a crossbow expert. Because right whales are evasive animals, Landry (who was part of a team from the Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies) had only one shot to try and snap the rope as the animal breached for a breath of air. Somewhat miraculously, it worked, and the whale (dubbed Wart) was not injured. We'd love to know if crossbow training comes standard with a job at the Marine Animal Entanglement Response Team.

Video below is of right whales in Cape Cod Bay from 2008.

— Jennifer L. Schwartz

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