Responders free juvenile gray whale stranded on Olympic National Park beach

Updated:

UPDATE:

Responders have successfully freed the stranded whale. The successful effort was during a high tide late Friday night, NOAA officials said. 

"The mission at one point seemed like it was failing with little progress made and the whale not seeming to be able to help and even appearing to turn back toward shore," said John Calambokidis of Cascadia Research Collective. "Then, at the last possible moment, with the whale in about four feet of water in the surf and the harness released, the whale started to swim."

The whale is believed to be 1 to 2 years old and now in fair condition. 

EARLIER STORY:

A juvenile gray whale is stranded on a section of beach in the Olympic National Park, in the Kalaloch area.

NOAA Fisheries’ response teams are providing “supportive care,” but the whale is in poor condition.

Photo from NOAA Fisheries.

Park and NOAA officials say the whale is believed to have been stranded Tuesday.

Responders are working to return the whale to the ocean, but so far attempts have been unsuccessful.

The public is asked to not try and reach the whale.

Response teams are trying to protect the whale from sunburn and scavengers. They are also using buckets to haul water and keep the whale wet.

Officials with the park and NOAA say the Western Pacific population of gray whales numbers about 20,000; from 2006 to 2016, 205 gray whales have been stranded on the West Coast.


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