Marine Matters

Rehabilitation and Release of a Gray Whale Calf: J.J.'s Story

By: Jim Antrim, J.F. McBain, and Donna Parham


SeaWorld's Animal Rescue and Rehabilitation Program affords wildlife experts the opportunity to learn about the kinds of environmental problems that impact wild animals.  The information gathered from wildlife rescues is a valuable source of knowledge that can be used in making wildlife management decisions.  The SeaWorld animal departments rescue, rehabilitate, and release stranded animals.  In early 1997, a neonatal gray whale (Eschrichtius robustus) was brought to SeaWorld San Diego for rehabilitation after stranding on the coast of Southern California near Marina Del Rey.  An initial physical examination revealed severe infestation with whale lice, multiple skin wounds, dehydration, hypoglycemia, malnutrition, and infection.  The whale was successfully rehabilitated and released.  The calf's rescue and rehabilitation prompted a flood of public interest.  During her 14-plus months at SeaWorld, the whale gave scientists, educators, and the public an unprecedented learning opportunity.

Jim Antrim is the General Curator, Jim McBain D.V.M a veterinarian, and Donna Parham a Science Writer at SeaWorld.  Jim Antrim, Jim McBain, and Donna Parham can be contacted at SeaWorld San Diego, 500 Sea World Drive, San Diego, California 92109.

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