A pair of humpback whales appears to be trapped in the Sacramento River because of fishing gear or rope in the California waterway.
The Sacramento (Calif.) Bee said Tuesday that the mother and calf appeared to become trapped in the river recently after the larger whale became entangled in the unknown material.
Alaska Whale Foundation officials have been tracking the whales since they appeared in the river on Monday and are investigating what is detaining the pair.
"It's some kind of wrap over her head. It looks like a crab pot line," foundation volunteer Kathi Koontz said. "We're trying to monitor her and see how much of the wrap is there and where it's located."
Foundation officials are awaiting word from the National Marine Fisheries Service regarding their proposal to aid the struggling whales.
The newspaper said that local maritime officials are protecting the animals from boat traffic by keeping a perimeter around them while the rescue operation is being considered.
Copyright 2007 by United Press International
Explore further: Study: Ancient whale swam hundreds of miles up African river