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Help Sent for Whale Beached in Santa Barbara

March 21, 1997| From a Times Staff Writer

SAN DIEGO — Marine mammal rescue specialists from Sea World were dispatched Thursday night to attempt to save a baby California gray whale beached in Santa Barbara, authorities said.

The National Marine Fisheries Service, whose approval is needed before Sea World or any other agency can attempt to rescue a beached or injured whale, called for Sea World's assistance after determining that the baby gray was helpless and could not return to the sea.

The theme park dispatched a team of veterinarians and animal care specialists who were involved with the rescue and treatment of J.J., a baby gray whale that beached itself on Venice Beach after becoming separated from its mother.

The Santa Barbara whale is thought to be 16 feet long and weigh 3,000 pounds--about twice the size of J.J. when she was brought to Sea World on Jan. 11. Since then, J.J. has gained strength, grown to 3,300 pounds, and is no longer considered to be in precarious health.

Plans are to provide the Santa Barbara whale with antibiotics and a syrupy mixture of milk and pureed fish, and to give it 24-hour care, the same regimen used to nurse J.J. back to health, according to Sea World spokeswoman Jonna Rae Bartges.

Using a crane, the rescue specialists plan to take the whale by truck to San Diego this morning and place it in the same tank behind Shamu Stadium where J.J. received emergency care.

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