Husbandry and hand-rearing of a rehabilitating California gray whale calf

  • Published source details Bruehler G.L., DiRocco S., Ryan T. & Robinson K. (2001) Husbandry and hand-rearing of a rehabilitating California gray whale calf. Aquatic Mammals, 27, 222-227.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Hand-rear orphaned or abandoned marine and freshwater mammal young

Action Link
Marine and Freshwater Mammal Conservation
  1. Hand-rear orphaned or abandoned marine and freshwater mammal young

    A study in 1997–1998 at an aquarium in San Diego, USA (Bruehler et al. 2001) found that an orphaned California gray whale Eschrichtius robustus calf reared in captivity survived for over 14 months and increased in body weight and length. Between September 1997 and March 1998, the whale calf increased in body weight (4,800–8,200 kg) and length (7.5–9.2 m). The female calf was brought into captivity in September 1997 and fed warm water and dextrose via a stomach tube followed by an artificial milk formula every 2 h for the first three days. This was replaced with a mixture of herring Clupea spp., milk formula, amino acid supplements, water and cream, which the calf suckled through a tube during seven feeding sessions/day. After 7–8 months, the calf was weaned onto solid food (small fish, squid and krill) fed at least four times/day. The calf was kept in a holding pool (9.1 m deep) and enrichment was provided (kelp and marine invertebrates).

    (Summarised by: Anna Berthinussen)

Output references
What Works 2021 cover

What Works in Conservation

What Works in Conservation provides expert assessments of the effectiveness of actions, based on summarised evidence, in synopses. Subjects covered so far include amphibians, birds, mammals, forests, peatland and control of freshwater invasive species. More are in progress.

More about What Works in Conservation

Download free PDF or purchase
The Conservation Evidence Journal

The Conservation Evidence Journal

An online, free to publish in, open-access journal publishing results from research and projects that test the effectiveness of conservation actions.

Read the latest volume: Volume 20

Go to the CE Journal

Discover more on our blog

Our blog contains the latest news and updates from the Conservation Evidence team, the Conservation Evidence Journal, and our global partners in evidence-based conservation.

Who uses Conservation Evidence?

Meet some of the evidence champions

Endangered Landscape Programme Red List Champion - Arc Kent Wildlife Trust The Rufford Foundation Save the Frogs - Ghana Bern wood Supporting Conservation Leaders National Biodiversity Network Sustainability Dashboard Frog Life The international journey of Conservation - Oryx British trust for ornithology Cool Farm Alliance UNEP AWFA Bat Conservation InternationalPeople trust for endangered speciesVincet Wildlife Trust