Gray Whale Calf Spotted off SoCal Coast, Likely Separated From Mother

Swimmers are being warned not to get close to the calf.

A baby gray whale that has been spotted in Marina del Rey over the past few days appeared to make its way back to the ocean Tuesday, possibly being sighted as far north as Will Rogers Beach north of Santa Monica.

But an animal-rescue organization is still trying to monitor the whale's movements.

Over the past few days, sightings of the whale were reported within Marina del Rey and in the main channel leading to the ocean.

Peter Wallerstein of Marine Animal Rescue said the whale was likely feeding in the marina, but that he was very concerned about it because it looks like a calf who got separated from its mother.

Rescuers got a report that the 15-foot California gray whale beached itself over the weekend, but by the time officials got to the calf, it was gone, back in the water.

Marine experts are troubled the calf is swimming in circles and moving lethargically. It swam from the marina to Dockweiler Beach in Playa del Rey Sunday then back to the marina Monday and Tuesday a possible sighting was made near Pacific Palisades.

Swimmers are being warned not to get close to the calf.

"They should remember they are federally protected, they're marine mammals, they need some space," Wallerstein said. Don't get near it, don't get your boat near it, don't get your paddle board near it, give it some space, let it do its thing naturally and then it should be OK.

Wallerstein also warned the calf could potentially be dangerously, citing an accidental flop by the tail could break a board or "a body."

Rescuers said anyone who spots the whale should contact the nearest lifeguard.

Wallerstein said the whale's appearance at this time of year could be the result of warmer waters caused by climate change, as most of the mammals should have already migrated to northern waters near Alaska.

City News Service contributed to this report. 

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