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Gray Whale Stranded on La Jolla Shores Beach

February 27, 2024

The whale was in poor body condition but showed no signs of human impact.

A gray whale lies on a beach parallel to the shore. There are tire tracks near its head. It has barnacles on its skin and its baleen is visible. Stranded gray whale on a beach in La Jolla. Photo Credit: Lonnie Stephens, San Diego Fire-Rescue

On the afternoon of February 22, 2024, NOAA Fisheries was alerted to a live stranded gray whale at the beach at La Jolla Shores, San Diego. The whale died that evening. The whale is estimated to be about 1–2 years old. It measured 24 feet long, and weighed about 11,000 pounds. 

On February 23, a NOAA Fisheries marine mammal stranding response team conducted a necropsy with partners from the Pacific Marine Mammal Center. They confirmed the whale was a male and in poor body condition. There were no obvious signs of human impact. The team collected a full suite of biological samples for further analysis. These samples will provide information on health and life history, and may help determine the cause of death. The samples will also contribute to investigations by partner researchers. 

Thanks to the La Jolla Shores lifeguards from San Diego Fire-Rescue and the mechanized beach team from City of San Diego Park and Recreation for their assistance.


Last updated by Office of Communications on February 27, 2024