CHILE MUSEUM EFFORT CALLS FOR BLUE WHALE PROTECTION
New Exhibit Highlights Presence of Whales In Southern Chile And Promotes Their Conservation
(July 19, 2006) When an 85-foot blue whale beached on the island of Chiloé in February 2005, the local harbormaster shrugged his shoulders at the idea of rescuing its skeleton.
Reaching the cadaver meant a fifteen minute drive from the nearby site of Ancud in southern Chile, followed by a harrowing 45-minute walk along slippery rocks at low tide.
Not even the navy or army was willing to risk the journey.
Today, ninety percent of the blue whale skeleton is neatly arranged in a dryer and safer resting place in the nearby Regional Museum of Ancud in Region X.
Over one year of heroic efforts by local fishermen, scientists, activists and community members to save the skeleton will be soon rewarded when the bones are constructed into a simulation of a swimming whale.
The modest museum in the town of approximately 20,000 will house the fourth largest blue whale skeleton in the world, and the largest in South America.
Only Tokyo, London and New York have comparable displays.
Ancud Museum Director Marijke Van Muers, who spearheaded the rescue effort, also applied for a grant from the Ford Foundation for a multimedia presentation about the species and the story of the skeleton recovery, as well as a permanent structure to house the skeleton.
Killer whales in New Zealand: here.