Whale dies after washing up near shore of Dockweiler State Beach

PLAYA DEL REY, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A 25-foot gray whale died after washing up near the shore of Dockweiler State Beach south of Marina Del Rey Wednesday afternoon.

The whale was still alive when lifeguards responded to the scene just after 4 p.m., but the L.A. County Fire Department's Lifeguard Division announced in the evening the animal died.

County lifeguards said it had been ordered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries to leave the whale alone in hopes that it would have been able to find its way back into the ocean.

Authorities hoped that leaving the whale for a tidal cycle would eventually return it to deeper waters, and that towing the animal would "most likely result in critical injury."

Peter Wallerstein, president and founder of Marine Animal Rescue, said the whale likely washed up because it was sick.

"When they get sick, they beach themselves to prevent from drowning,'' Wallerstein said. "But they don't know that beaching themselves is even worse because it puts a lot of pressure on their bodies."

City News Service contributed to this report.
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