Subject: JJ-Baby whale's release delayed (fwd)

Mike Williamson (pita@www1.wheelock.edu)
Fri, 27 Mar 1998 12:47:43 -0500 (EST)

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu, 26 Mar 98 13:09:00 GMT 
From: r.mallon1@genie.geis.com
To: marmam@uvvm.uvic.ca, pita@sun.simmons.edu
Subject: Baby whale's release delayed

Baby whale's release delayed

   SAN DIEGO, March 25 (UPI) -- Plans to return an orphaned baby gray
whale to the ocean have been delayed because of a powerful storm
hitting Southern California's coast.
   U.S. Coast Guard spokesman Dan Tremper says concerns about the
safety of the crew and the whale have forced them to postpone J.J.'s
release, which had been planned for Thursday.
   The Coast Guard will evaluate weather conditions again next Monday
to determine if the whale can be released the following day.
   J.J. has been in a 1.7-million gallon pool at Sea World in San
Diego for a 14-month rehabilitation program since washing up near
death on a beach in Marina del Rey in January 1997. She's made a
miraculous recovery since then, gaining more than 17,000 pounds.
   Sea World officials are calling her move back to the ocean "the
largest and most complex animal transport in history."
   She'll be loaded on a 32-foot sling inside a flatbed truck and
placed aboard a Coast Guard cutter that will move her to an area near
Point Loma. Her release is timed to coincide with the northern
migration of gray whales from Baja California to their summer home in
Alaska.
   Sea World officials acknowledge they're not sure about the whale's
chances of survival in the wild because of hazards including killer
whales on the hunt for young whales, her own curiousity and commercial
fishing gear.
   J.J. is among Sea World's most popular attractions and her progress
has been regularly monitored on Sea World's web site.