A dead gray whale discovered floating off Point Fermin on Friday is likely the same emaciated gray whale that was disentangled Sept. 6 off the coast of Manhattan Beach from rope wrapped around its tail, according to a Facebook post from the American Cetacean Society's Los Angeles chapter.
Los Angeles County lifeguards spotted the carcass Friday and towed it out to sea that evening, wrote Alisa Schulman-Janiger. When found Saturday by Capt. Carl Mayhugh of Belmont Shore, the yellow tow line was still attached to the whale, and blue sharks were feeding on it.
The whale freed off Manhattan Beach at the beginning of September was probably one spotted off Point Loma on Aug. 1, according to Schulman-Janiger. Members of the Redondo Beach Harbor Patrol saw it Sept. 6 and notified Peter Wallerstein of the Marine Mammal Rescue.
Wallerstein and his team disentangled the whale; however, they noted that the whale did not look healthy.
"This young whale's condition was so poor that rescuers believed that it would likely not be able to survive," wrote Schulman-Janiger. "This youngster might very well be one of the three entangled gray whale calves that were sighted in San Ignacio Lagoon this spring."
The carcass discovered Friday appeared to be infested with orange whale lice, which generally indicate poor health, according to Schulman-Janiger.
Young gray whales aren't normally seen off the coast of the South Bay on their journey south to Baja California until November, and the normal migration period runs from December through May, according to the ACS-LA gray whale census.
This was the second entangled gray whale spotted off the coast of the South Bay in 2012. In late March, rescuers freed a gray whale that had rope from a lobster trap wrapped around its tail after a multiple-hour ordeal.