By CBSLA Staff

DOCKWEILER STATE BEACH (CBSLA) – Lifeguards and other marine rescuers worked to get a whale back into the ocean Wednesday after it washed ashore before the animal died a few hours later.

The roughly 25-foot gray whale was on Dockweiler State Beach south of Marine Del Rey, where wildlife experts were trying to help the whale around 4:30 p.m.

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Progress was made by 5 p.m. when the whale was moved from the sand into shallow waters.

The whale was alive but struggling. Marine Animal Rescue and Marine Mammal Care Los Angeles experts were on the scene with county lifeguards by 6:50 p.m.

County Supervisor Janice Hahn said that the beached whale is thin and malnourished.

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“When they get sick, they beach themselves to prevent from drowning,” said Peter Wallerstein, president and founder of Marine Animal Rescue. “But they don’t know that beaching themselves is even worse because it puts a lot of pressure on their bodies.”

Crews were waiting for the tide to come in, as towing the whale back out to the ocean would risk hurting it. However, by 7:15 p.m. it was reported that the whale had died.

Wallerstein said the whale’s corpse will likely be left in place until Thursday morning, at which point investigators will perform a necropsy before it is towed away.

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(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)