TRACKING BOAT MAINTAINS CONTACT; MAY
RETURN TO SHORE DUE TO SEVERE WEATHER
Update April 1st, 1998
The research vessel tracking J.J. has maintained visual and electronic contact with the gray whale throughout the afternoon, but severe weather may force the boat to shore. Pacific storms moving east could create unsafe conditions for the small boat.
However, even if they are forced to return, the scientists from Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute will continue to track J.J.s progress by satellite from transmitters attached to the whales back.
Dr. Pam Yochem, a veterinarian with H-SWRI, said the scientists have seen J.J. several times and received transmissions by short-range radio and satellite telemetry. Choppy seas at the time of J.J.s release made initial sightings difficult, Yochem said, but radio transmissions enabled the tracking team to locate J.J. and they maintained visual contact throughout the afternoon.
In addition, the researchers detected J.J.s vocalizations several times a good sign, according to Dr. Ann Bowles, a research scientists at H-SWRI who has worked extensively with J.J. on vocalization. The observers also saw J.J. spyhopping sticking her head above water several times.
The storms should not have a negative impact on J.J., said Jim Antrim,
SeaWorlds general curator.
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