Subject: JJ the whale returned to the o (fwd)

Mike Williamson (pita@www1.wheelock.edu)
Thu, 2 Apr 1998 11:19:15 -0500 (EST)

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu,  2 Apr 98 13:35:00 GMT 
From: r.mallon1@genie.geis.com
To: marmam@uvvm.uvic.ca, pita@sun.simmons.edu
Subject: JJ the whale returned to the o

JJ the whale returned to the ocean off California

    SAN DIEGO, March 31 (Reuters) - JJ the whale, who has spent
15 months at Sea World after being orphaned and beached in
southern California, was returned to the Pacific Ocean Tuesday.
     The 31-foot (10m) long, 19,000-pound gray whale was lowered
into the water from a Coast Guard cutter after a nearly
three-hour operation to return her to the wild.
     JJ had been raised at the San Diego marine attraction since
she was rescued off Marina del Ray, near Los Angeles, after her
mother died.
     Marine biologists who freed her off the coast about 30 miles
(45 km) west of San Diego, hoped she would be able to join a
school of gray whales as they migrate up the California
seaboard.
     The whale had earlier been lifted from her tank at Sea World
in a huge red sling and put in a giant foam-lined container of
sea water on a flat-bed truck for a drive to the U.S. Naval
Station in San Diego.
     There she was loaded onto a naval cutter forthe voyage out
to what marine biologists call a "whale highway" for the
mammals as they migrate from the Baja California peninsula off
Mexico where they spend the winters to their summer home in the
Gulf of Alaska.
     Although JJ has gained several tons over the last 15 months,
she is still a yearling and has a long way to go before reaching
her full-grown adult size of around 70,000 pounds.
     Biologists in wet suits accompanied JJ on the truck and
naval cutter as water sprayed on her to keep her wet. Their
biggest fear was that JJ would fall prey to killer whales, who
often feed on migrating grays off California.