Images show a whale entangled in a net around its mouth before rescuers’ efforts to liberate the animal were thwarted by poor lighting.
The whale was sighted with a net and rope wrapped around its mouth off the coast of Vaucluse, east of Sydney, at around 2:15pm on Saturday.
The creatures are seen struggling between 100m and 200m from the cliff edge in photos taken near the Bondi golf course.
Onlookers informed the Daily Mail Australia that they tracked the animal to Maroubra after seeing it was tied in a huge net and rope around its torso and lips.
Recognizing the whale’s suffering, they contacted Crustacean Research and Rescue in Australia to assist in the search.
ORRCA volunteers attempted to locate the whale but were unable to do so before the light went out.
The entangled whale was last seen swimming south with two other whales off Bondi around 3.30pm.
ORRCA is a volunteer-led wildlife recovery organization in New South Wales certified to rescue, rehabilitate, and release marine mammals.
Anyone who knows the whale is asked to call the ORRCA Rescue Hotline Team for information about its whereabouts and images.