Barely a week old, 20 years ago on January 11, 1997 a female gray whale was rescued after being discovered alone on the shores of Marina del Rey near Los Angeles. Nicknamed JJ, she was taken to SeaWorld, San Diego where she was immediately given emergency medical care/ tube fed and after being fed a milk substance for some time, was weaned to solid food. She beat the odds and survived. Every day, gaining about 50 pounds, 14 months later, weighing 19,000 pounds, JJ was finally ready for the real world. The young whale was returned to the ocean, in the vicinity of other gray whales which were on their 6,000-mile migration from Baja to the Arctic. It was hoped she would join a pod headed north to Alaska, the gray whales’ summer frolicking spot. A couple days after her release, it’s thought JJ had knocked both her GPS trackers off as she was never located again.
Photo Credit: SeaWorld