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Whale Disentanglement in Northern California

Cost:  $5 Donation goes toward Student Research Grants

Kathi Koontz:    Whale Disentanglement in Northern California

W.E.T. Photo taken under NOAA MMHSRP permit number[masked]

Kathi Koontz is a primary responder with the California Whale Entanglement Team (WET, under the auspices of the National Marine Fisheries Service), a supervisor for the Marine Mammal Center’s special rescue operation team, a co-investigator with Marine Life Studies, and project manager at the University of California at Berkeley and the California Academy of Sciences. Kathi has participated in five whale disentanglement efforts, numerous entangled whale searches, and over fifty sea lion disentanglements. 

She will be joined by Pieter Folkens, lead California WET responder and co-investigator on the National Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program permit for whale disentangling.  Pieter is a highly acclaimed illustrator of marine mammals and a founding board member of the Alaska Whale Foundation. He has contributed to many books, feature films, and television documentaries.  His other major involvement is working his search and rescue trailing dog, Cali, for the California Rescue Dog Association (CARDA) and the Napa Sheriff’s Office.

One of the greatest threats posed to whales, worldwide, is entanglement in fishing gear and marine debris. Scar studies show greater than 20 percent of large whales have entanglement scars.  The Whale Entanglement Team (WET) disentangles large whales with properly trained and equipped personnel, and shares information to reduce the threat of entanglements in the future.  Join Kathi Koontz from WET, as she shares information about the entanglements we see, or don't see, in Northern California, and how you can get involved.  She, and Pieter Folkens, will walk you through the disentanglement process of removing a tight wrap/line(s) on a free-swimming, and anchored, 50 foot, 50 ton whale - from a 14-18 foot inflatable boat.  Does size matter?



Kathi Koontz is a responder for the National Marine Fisheries Service’s whale entanglement team (WET), supervisor for the Marine Mammal Center’s special rescue operation team, co-investigator for Marine Life Studies, and project manager for the University of California at Berkeley and the California Academy of Sciences. 

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  • Lynette R. K.

    Fabulous presentation: great factual information, demonstrations of procedures, and audience involvement.

    February 26, 2014

  • Sailor D.

    Great presentation, very informative.

    February 26, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Im stuck out of town sorry for last minute notice...

    February 25, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Me too, what a great thing to do!

    1 · January 19, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Im in for this one!

    1 · January 18, 2014

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