Gray whale washes up at La Jolla Shores

gray whale washes up against marine room restaurant in La Jolla shores

A juvenile gray whale has washed up at La Jolla Shores, just outside The Marine Room restaurant.

The 24-foot whale appeared to have beached itself Feb 22 about 2:45 p.m., according to San Diego Fire-Rescue Department spokesperson Monica Muñoz. 

“Initially, the whale appeared to be deceased but as the tide rolled in, there were signs of life,” she said.

The San Diego Fire-Rescue Lifeguard Division notified SeaWorld and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the whale’s presence; NOAA scientists were at the scene later that afternoon and indicated that human intervention was not advised for safety reasons.

According to NOAA, the whale passed away by 8:30 p.m. Feb 22.

The whale was still in the waves the morning of Feb 23 with NOAA scientists at the beach waiting for a mechanized crew from the city’s Parks and Recreation Department to try to tow the animal offsite, according to NOAA liaison Sarah Mesnick.

The cause of the whale’s death is unknown at this time, Mesnick said, “but it looked emaciated.”

NOAA will perform a necropsy, although it may take the crew a few hours to access the whale as it’s high tide now. 

Muñoz advised extreme caution: “These animals carry diseases that can be dangerous to humans. Be safe and stay away from the whale,” she said, adding the Marine Mammal Protection Act and the Endangered Species Act do not provide for permits or other authorizations to view or interact with wild marine mammals and sea turtles, except for scientific research.

Picture of Elisabeth Frausto

Elisabeth Frausto

Elisabeth Frausto has been reporting on and writing about La Jolla since 2019. With dozens of local and state journalism awards to her name, Elisabeth knows the industry as well as she knows her community. When she’s not covering all things 92037, you’ll find her with coffee in hand staring at the sea.
Picture of Elisabeth Frausto

Elisabeth Frausto

Elisabeth Frausto has been reporting on and writing about La Jolla since 2019. With dozens of local and state journalism awards to her name, Elisabeth knows the industry as well as she knows her community. When she’s not covering all things 92037, you’ll find her with coffee in hand staring at the sea.

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