AP
In this photo released by Mexico's Federal Environmental Protection Agency (PROFEPA) and taken between Feb. 15 and 17 of 2018, people spray water on a gray whale during efforts to return it to sea in Baja California Sur state, Mexico. The gray whale was returned safely to the Pacific Ocean after three days beached on the coast. (PROFEPA via AP)

MEXICO CITY — A gray whale has been returned safely to the Pacific Ocean after three days beached on the coast of Mexico's Baja California Sur state.

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The federal environmental protection agency says in a statement that the whale swam into a shallow canal near Puerto Adolfo Lopez Mateos last Thursday and was then stranded by the ebbing tide.

Workers spent three days using pumps to keep the whale hydrated. Photos released by the agency showed them hosing it down and digging the sand in an apparent bid to allow water to pool around it.

Monday's statement said the tide came in high enough Saturday for the whale to be maneuvered to open water. It swam away under its own power and "in good health."

Gray whales are a protected species in Mexico.