NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. – A whale with no tail? Yes, this is no fluke.
A gray whale is said to have successfully migrated on an epic 12,000-mile roundtrip from its feeding grounds in Alaska to the breeding grounds in Mexico – all without its tail fin, according to Jessica Roame, the education manager for Newport Whales in Newport Beach, California.
"This is definitely a ‘miracle whale,’" she said.
The whale was filmed off Newport Beach on March 13, swimming north at a normal pace of 3 mph.
Experts estimate the whale's injury to its fluke to be several years old, noting it was likely caused by the animal's tail getting stuck in commercial fishing gear.
"The whale is maybe a little underweight but not dramatically so," Roame said.
Despite its severe injury, the whale does not have much sign of impacted body health, which suggests that it can find food and successfully migrate to its Mexican wintering grounds, the agency said.
"As horrible as this injury is, it’s incredible that this whale is determined to survive, and so far appears to be successful." Roame said.