UPDATE: Whale needing rescued in Turnagain Arm not a whale at all

Published: Oct. 5, 2018 at 3:53 PM AKDT
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Verena Gill told KTUU late Friday afternoon she was relieved that the mammal needing rescued from the exposed mudflats was a harbour porpoise that was able to free itself as the bore tide came in. Gill is the Beluga Recovery Coordinator for NOAA.

Gill said crews from the Alaska SeaLife Center, Beluga Whale Alliance, responded and Girdwood Fire was "brilliant and ready to aide us in the rescue".

KTUU initially confirmed APD responded to the area near mile marker 92 on a reported beluga whale stranding.

MJ Thim, a spokesperson for APD asked drivers not to stop and take pictures, but to keep traffic moving.

A Channel 2 News crew arrived to the scene at about 4:00 p.m. and found that it had already cleared out.

NOAA's Gill said she was delighted that the animal turned out to be a harbour porpoise as they aren't seen very frequently in the area.

She encouraged the public to continue to report strandings either through NOAA Fisheries statewide 24-hour Stranding Hotline at (877) 925-7773, or to the Alaska SeaLife Center Stranding Hotline at (888) 774-7325.

A baby beluga was rescued last year off the shores of Cook Inlet. Tyonek is now at SeaWorld San Antoni, in Texas, where he recently celebrated a year's worth of recovery.