KALALOCH — A juvenile gray whale is stranded on a section of beach in the Kalaloch area of Olympic National Park and is struggling to survive, NOAA Fisheries’ West Coast Marine Mammal Stranding Network said Thursday afternoon.
The whale is believed to have become stranded on the beach on Tuesday. It is in poor condition but alive and has actively attempted to return to the ocean at high tide, but so far has been unsuccessful.
Olympic National Park is monitoring the scene, and urges the public not to try to reach the whale.
Olympic National Park and NOAA Fisheries have coordinated the response to the stranding, with teams from the West Coast Marine Mammal Stranding Network monitoring and providing supportive care for the whale. At some points near low tide the whale has been fully exposed for hours. The teams have sought to protect the whale from sunburn and scavengers.
The teams have also used buckets to haul water and keep the whale as wet as possible.
The Western Pacific population of gray whales numbers about 20,000 and the number of gray whale strandings have grown with the population. From 2006 to 2016, 205 gray whales stranded on the West Coast of the U.S.