Free-Diving Family Saves Whale Shark Stuck in a
BY JASON BITTEL
PUBLISHED AUGUST 8, 2018
While free-diving off the shore of Kaunolû on Hawaii’s
island of Lanai, a Hawaiian family saw something they’d
never seen before: A young whale shark.
Even for people who spend a lot of time in Hawaii’s
crystalline waters, this endangered animal—the world’s
largest fish—is a rare and joyous sight.
But the initial wonder faded as Kapua Kawelo and her
husband Joby Rohrer, both of whom work on endangered
species for the O‘ahu Army Natural Resources Program,
noticed the creature had a thick, heavy rope wrapped
around its neck.
“It looked really sore,” says Rohrer. “There were these
three scars from where the rope rubbed into the ridges on
her back. The rope had cut probably three inches into her
After filming the shark for a while, the family decided
to try to cut the rope with a dive knife. Using only his
experience as a free-diver and a small, serrated dive blade,
Rohrer dove down again and again at depths of 50 to 60
feet for spans of up to two minutes at a time.
Finally, after about half an hour of careful work and a
little bit of support from the couple’s son Kanehoalani and
from Jon Sprague, a wildlife control manager for Pûlama
Lâna»i, the shark was free.
Then the family’s 15-year-old daughter, Ho’ohila, swam
the 150-pounds worth of rope to shore.
“It’s a family story,” says Kapua.
(Adaptado de <https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/2018/08/whale-shark-entangled-fishing-net-freed)