AVILA BEACH, Calif. -- A gray whale beached itself at Port San Luis on Friday around 5:00 p.m.
On Friday around 10:30 a.m., The Marine Mammal Center of Port San Luis responded to a gray whale stuck in Port San Luis near Avila Beach.
Around 2:45 p.m., the whale moved from its original area.
The Marine Mammal Center team was on-site to assess and observe the gray whale.
The team was in touch with Harbor Patrol and tried to determine the whale's age. They are confident it is a dependent calf.
The Marine Mammal Center said they believe the whale was separated from its mother and that there is not much they can do at this point.
Some onlookers wondered why responders were unable to push the whale back into the water.
"The reason that we don't do that is because there's no mom here waiting for it to reunite unfortunately," said Diana Kramer, an operations manager for Marine Mammal Center. "So if we push it back into the water, it will within a few minutes to an hour come right back up to where it was."
She said sometimes when whales come to shore they are either gathering food or escaping predators, but in this situation it does not look like that is the case.
Around 5:00 p.m., however, the whale beached itself near Avila Beach.
At this time it is also unsafe for the responders to approach the whale. At an estimated 2,000 pounds and with a high tide, it is impossible for them to approach the whale safely.
The team is now waiting to see if the whale moves out on its own. If it does not, it could pass away within hours. If it does pass away, responders will perform a necropsy to try and determine what happened to the whale.
A media representative for The Marine Mammal Center in Port San Luis says that last year the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration declared an Unusual Mortality Event (UME) for gray whales due to an increase in gray whale strandings.
That Unusual Mortality Event is still active.
As the gray whales have begun their migration north to Alaska, the Marine Mammal Center anticipates seeing strandings along the California coast.
A media representative for The Marine Mammal Center says any time a whale comes ashore it is in such poor health that it could no longer support itself in the water.
The center is continuing to monitor the whale and a veterinarian will likely be on scene Saturday to assess its condition and determine what is best for the animal.
For more information on The Marine Mammal Center, click here.
For more information on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration declaring an Unusual Mortality Event on gray whales, click here.