IMPERIAL BEACH (CBS 8) - A wayward baby whale struggling with a fishing-net rope around its tail was spotted in the water near the Imperial Beach pier Friday morning, causing concern for whale conservationists.
"That whale was obviously stressed out. It really didn't know what to do," said Serge Dedina of the non-profit conservation group "Wildcoast". Dedina, who happened to be near the I.B. shoreline at the time, captured video of the whale on his cell phone.
"It was surfacing and bobbing up and down in the water," Dedina told News 8. "It looked like it was almost trying to feed."
The tail of the whale was ensnared in about 20 feet of fishing-net rope, according to Dedina. The juvenile continued to struggle for more than half an hour in the shallow water.
Photographer Joseph Buliavac, an I.B. resident who was body-surfing off the shore Friday morning, grabbed his camera when he spied the baby gray.
"You could tell it was not acting normal," Buliavac said. "I wouldn't see any reason why it would have hung out around the pier like that."
In fact, considering it's the end of August, this guy shouldn't be anywhere near San Diego, according to Dedina, an expert on gray whales.
"By this time, it should be hundreds of miles north of here," Dedina added. "And because it's a young whale, it should be with its mother."
While the baby whale finally made it around the pier, still entangled in the fishing rope and separated from its mother, its future remains uncertain.
"The likelihood of this animal surviving is really slim," Dedina said.
From Imperial Beach, the whale - still ensnared in the fishing rope - appeared to be heading toward Point Loma Friday morning. Dedina urged anyone who may spot the whale to contact local lifeguards.
Dedina is associated with Wild Coast, an international conservation group aimed at preserving the endangered marine species and coastal wildlands of the Californias.