Subject: JJ: Monitoring Freed Whale Proves (fwd)

Mike Williamson (pita@www1.wheelock.edu)
Thu, 2 Apr 1998 11:21:40 -0500 (EST)

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu,  2 Apr 98 13:36:00 GMT 
From: r.mallon1@genie.geis.com
To: marmam@uvvm.uvic.ca, pita@sun.simmons.edu
Subject: Monitoring Freed Whale Proves

Monitoring Freed Whale Proves Tough

By MICHELLE WILLIAMS
 Associated Press Writer
   SAN DIEGO (AP) -- Tracking J.J. the gray whale is proving nearly
as challenging as raising her.
   Rescued as an infant and raised in captivity, J.J. was returned
to the Pacific Ocean on Tuesday. Satellite transmitters attached to
her back will track her position for up to 18 months.
   Although she hasn't strayed far from where she was dropped into
the sea, information from the transmitters is taking hours to
dispatch and analyze.
   "It's not an instantaneous thing," Sea World curator Jim
Antrim said Wednesday. "We can't just turn on a computer and it
says, `J.J. is here.'"
   Each time J.J. breaks the ocean's surface, her transmitters send
a signal to a satellite, which then sends the information to a
computer at the Argos Data Collection and Location Service near
Washington D.C.
   Argos then sends the data by computer to Sea World researcher
Brent Stewart, who then filters the information detailing her
location, and the depths and duration of her dives.
   "It may be possible to receive 100 to 150 transmissions per
day, but that number can vary depending on several things,"
Stewart said, such as how long the orbiting satellite is in view of
the transmitter and how often J.J. surfaces.
   The best tracking so far has come from researchers following
J.J. in a boat at a distance of about 300 yards.
   "They've seen her surface a few times and stick her nose out of
the water," Antrim said. "She hasn't been in close proximity of
other whales yet. She's just investigating her environment."
   Early Wednesday, she was seen swimming off the coast of
Coronado, across the bay from San Diego.
   "She has made some vocalizations, but we're not sure if she is
trying to communicate with other whales or just testing her
environment," Antrim said.
   J.J. was found churning in the surf Jan. 11, 1997, near Los
Angeles after her mother abandoned her. The baby whale was
malnourished, comatose and undersized at 13 feet, 10 inches,
weighing only 1,670 pounds.
   She was take to Sea World in San Diego where marine biologists
nursed her back to health. When released, she was a healthy 19,200
pounds and 31 feet long.
   ------
   Eds: Sea World has established a toll-free line, 1-800-23Shamu,
for the public to keep tabs on J.J.'s progress. By April 10, the
information will be available on Sea World's webpage,
www.seaworld.org.