Subject: Newborn whale still lost
Sun, 12 Jan 97 17:45:00 GMT

Newborn whale still lost

   MARINA DEL REY, Calif. Jan 11 (UPI) -- A newborn baby California gray
whale that has become separated from its migrating herd returned briefly
to the harbor at Marina Del Rey before heading back out into the ocean.
   Los Angeles County lifeguards and marine mammal experts are
monitoring the 12-foot, 1,500-pound whale, and hoping its migrating
herd, or pod, will find it before it's too late.
   Lifeguard Lt. Steve Page said Saturday they're trying to keep people
and boats away from the lost whale, which will die if it doesn't find an
adult to nurse it soon.
   The whale, which is only about 4 days old and is still attached to
its umbilical cord beached itself briefly Friday at Venice, but swam
back into the ocean.
   Apparently the baby was born prematurely during the annual three-
month migration from Alaskan waters to the winter feeding and calving
grounds in Baja California, Mexico.
   Because gray whales are federally protected, the final decision on
what to do with the infant was left to the National Marine Fishery
Service, which decided to let nature take its course.
   If the animal beaches itself, rescuers could pick it up and perhaps
truck it to Sea World in San Diego.