Update March 31st, 1998
J.J.s new life in the ocean began at 10:17 a.m. PST. The worlds most famous
gray whale was released from the U.S.
Coast Guard vessel Conifer to begin the next chapter in her life.
J.J. was released into the ocean about 2 miles off Point Loma, where she can join the
northern migration of gray whales.
She has been fitted with satellite transmitters to track her movement, and an observation boat with scientists from the
Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute will follow her for several days. Although they hope she will migrate north,
SeaWorld experts say it would be possible for J.J. to linger in the area for a month or more, living off of her energy
reserves from the weight she has gained.
Observers on the Coast Guard boats did not immediately see J.J. surface, but that is
not uncommon. SeaWorlds animal
care specialists noted that gray whales can stay under water for long periods, and its possible that J.J. has surfaced
without being seen. SeaWorld veterinarians said J.J. was in good condition throughout the transport and release.
The Conifer and other vessels involved in the release are on their way back to U.S.
Naval Station San Diego and should
arrive by noon PST.
With her release, J.J. is now considered a free-ranging wild animal under the
supervision of the National Marine
Fisheries Service. Should J.J. encounter any problems in the ocean, NMFS will determine what intervention, if any,
would be appropriate.
About 800 people watched the release operation live at SeaWorlds Shamu Stadium
and well-wishers around the world
saw live video on our site!
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