July 22, 2024 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

California Wildlife Center Responds to Distressed Marine Mammal at Little Dume Beach

Third Gray Whale Stranding of 2024 Prompts Concern in Malibu

On the morning of Saturday, March 16, the California Wildlife Center (CWC) received a call from a concerned member of the public regarding a whale stranding at Malibu’s Little Dume beach. Responding to the call, the CWC Marine Response Team ventured out to investigate.

Upon arrival, the team discovered a distressed subadult male Gray whale being tossed in the shallows. Throughout the day, CWC staff remained on-site, monitoring the animal’s status and engaging with the public to promote safety around the marine mammal. Gray whales, like all marine mammals, are protected under the 1972 federal Marine Mammal Protection Act.

Tragically, at midday Saturday, the whale succumbed to its distress and died. Due to safety concerns, approaching the whale was deemed unsafe as it remained in the water. The unpredictable movements of the ocean posed a risk to human safety, prioritizing caution in handling the situation.

On Sunday, with the whale wedged in the sand, external samples were taken by CWC staff with assistance from the Ocean Animal Response and Research Alliance (OARRA) in an effort to determine the cause of death. The whale’s body, measuring 32.5 feet in length, showed signs of potential cranial trauma of unknown origin. Plans were devised, in collaboration with nearby homeowners and NOAA, for the carcass’s removal if the tides failed to carry it out to sea.

The stranded whale was part of a migratory journey from the Baja Peninsula to the rich waters of Alaska. Sadly, this incident marks the third Gray whale stranding in Southern California in 2024 alone.

As of Monday morning, the whale’s body appeared to be approximately 100 feet offshore, being gradually carried out to sea by the tides.

For more comprehensive information about the species, interested individuals are encouraged to visit the NOAA website at https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/species/gray-whale.

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