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A group of Australian boaters were recently stunned when a young southern right whale approached them. He seemed to be asking for help with removing a plastic bag which had become stuck in his mouth, as well as a fishing line wrapped around his head.

One of the boaters, Ivan Iskenderian, said: “He came up to the boat a couple of times, putting his head out of the water. There was a plastic bag and fishing line sitting on the side of his mouth, and it seemed like he wanted it taken off. So I dropped my phone, reached over and just grabbed it. (My friends and I) couldn’t believe it, we were just laughing, couldn’t believe what was happening.” He added that the whale “was really inquisitive, taking its eyes out of the water and looking at us … it didn’t seem distressed at all.”

Plastic on beaches and in the ocean is a major threat to marine life. While this whale was lucky enough to be saved, many marine animals die each year by ingesting items of plastic, or being suffocated by them. To find out how you can help, click here.