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Animal experts preparing to remove gray whale calf from Port San Luis

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Posted at 11:46 PM, Jan 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-01 02:48:37-05

A gray whale calf has been stuck in the Port San Luis since early Friday morning.

Despite the rescue efforts from bystanders, and multiple agencies working together to protect the whale, it's health has declined fast and the Marine Mammal Center and Harbor Patrol are now focusing on studying what exactly happened.

"I was really worried that whale which is only about 12 foot long, it's very small, would get pinned under that dock, you can kind of see what's going on now. I paddled to it and jumped into the water," said Vincent Shay, Avila Beach Paddle Sports owner.

Shay and others are seen jumping into action and the ocean to protect the gray whale calf.

"I think anyone would have done the same thing that I did," said Shay.

Those efforts might not have been enough to keep the baby whale alive.

Stranded from its mother, proving to be too much for the mammal.

"What we believe is a gray whale calf has washed up against the rocks and it looks like it may be close to passing on," said Diana Kramer, Marine Mammal Center operations manager.

The next step for the Marine Mammal Center if the whale calf does pass, a necropsy.

"That will give us deeper insight to understanding more about this animal, how long was it away from it's mom, what's it's age, what else is going on with it," said Kramer.

Kramer with the Marine Mammal Center says over the past several years there have been higher than normal number of gray whales stranded.

She says while this is a tragic event, they can gain a lot of information from studying the calf.

"It can help us better understand the population of gray whales, what's going on with them, and then the bigger picture of ocean conservation and our marine environment," said Kramer.

The Marine Mammal Center and Harbor Patrol plan Saturday morning to tow the whale calf to a safer location to start the necropsy process.

Kramer says they will have a specialized team from their main hospital in Sausalito on hand to conduct the autopsy of the baby gray whale.