~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ---------- Forwarded message ---------- Date: Sat, 25 Apr 98 11:41:00 GMT From: firstname.lastname@example.org To: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: No sign of J.J. the baby whale No sign of J.J. the baby whale SAN DIEGO, April 24 (UPI) -- Researchers haven't been able to confirm any sightings of J.J. the baby gray whale who was released into the Pacific Ocean from Sea World nearly a month ago, despite dozens of calls from people who think they've seen her. A Sea World spokesman says sightings of the elusive J.J. have become "sort of like Elvis sightings" since her March 31 release. Marine biologists had hoped to track J.J.'s whereabouts for up to 18 months through two satellite transmitters attached to her. But the transmitters fell off less than a week after her release, leaving researchers no idea where the huge creature is. Scientists at the Hubbs-Sea World Research Institute in San Diego say they're hoping that J.J.'s unique color and scar patterns can be identified through photographs taken by whale researchers who monitor the whales' migration from Mexico to Alaska. She's also identifiable through a 3- to 4-inch red, white and blue streamer tag that should be visible when she surfaces. Senior research biologist Brent Stewart said, "We haven't gotten any confirmed sightings, just lots of gray whale sightings...They (the callers) would like to believe that all of these sightings are her." Researchers have only been able to confirm that several whales that have been stranded in San Francisco and Los Angeles aren't J.J. Other reports have turned out to be dolphin or sea lion sightings. Stewart said, "The best news is that she's still out there." The whale was nursed back to health after washing up near death on a beach in Marina del Rey in January 1997.