A young gray whale that washed up at La Jolla shores on Thursday afternoon has been confirmed dead.

According to reports, the whale beached itself in a shallow low-tide area. When the calls began to come in from beachgoers, scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration rushed to the scene to see if there was anything to be done to help the juvenile back into deeper waters. The whale was still alive, but its situation was dire. Sadly, NOAA officials believe that the whale was dead by 8:30 p.m.

NOAA told reporters from CBS8 that the whale was only a few years old, measuring 24-feet long and weighing around 11,000 pounds. At maturity, gray whales can be as large as 50-feet long and 90,000 pounds.

As of this reporting, NOAA scientists have not yet determined the cause of death, but they're working alongside lifeguards to remove the animal from the beach. There were no obvious signs of injury or illness, but they hope a necropsy will shed more light on what killed the whale.

In the last few years, there have been an unusual number of gray whale strandings. "Since January 1, 2019, elevated gray whale strandings have occurred along the west coast of North America from Mexico through Alaska," NOAA wrote. "This event has been declared an Unusual Mortality Event (UME)."

The reason behind the UME, however, isn't clear. "Full or partial necropsy examinations were conducted on a subset of the whales," NOAA explained. "Preliminary findings in several of the whales have shown evidence of emaciation. These findings are not consistent across all of the whales examined, so more research is needed."