What is probably the world's only portable hot-vapour degreasing system is now up and running! We're seeing all sorts of gross oily material coming out of Jerome Fryer's blue whale bones... more news and some photos to come!
With the help of an awesome group of volunteers from our community, we had a fabulous day of exhuming bones early in July. It was a wet day full of smiles and great questions. We unearthed the fascinating skeleton of a really old female killer whale, T171, who had died up near Prince Rupert in 2013. Her bones showed a very advanced case of spondylitis, which we now believe must have contributed to her death. We also dug up a humpback skeleton and one american alligator. Thanks so much for all the help - especially the kids who enthusiastically took on some of the tougher to recover bits and pieces!
This past weekend, we worked with Vancouver Island University and many amazing volunteers to unearth, document and recover the bones of a 35 foot gray whale skeleton that beached in East Sooke Park and was subsequently buried nearby in 2010. The burial and recovery have been the result of an amazing collaboration between the Sc'ianew (Chenuh) First Nation, Fisheries and VIU's Centre for Shellfish Research in Deep Bay.
This exhumation was the first step in VIU's community-based Raise a Whale Project, which we are excited to have the honour of working on. It was an extremely successful recovery as we were able to find all the bones from both pelvics to the last caudal vertebrae, which was smaller than a golf ball.
Check out VIU's time lapse of the dig above and stay tuned for more on this project!
We recently drove down the coast to Mendocino, California, to visit with the community of Fort Bragg and the folks developing the Noyo Center for Marine Sciences in Fort Bragg. We had a good chance to assess the condition of their 73' blue whale's bones and advise them on how to get their ambitious skeleton project underway. Stay tuned to hear more on this as the project unfolds!
In October, Mike and crew flew up to Prince Rupert, B.C. to perform a necropsy and collect the skeleton of T171, a female transient killer whale found floating offshore by a local fisherman. She showed signs of malnourishment, but it is not yet clear why she died.
Huge thanks to all the people who worked so hard over the weekend to complete the necropsy and help collect the skeleton. T171 is bound for the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto.
Thanks to our wonderful volunteers, Kimberley, Robin, Shane and Brian for coming over to help us prepare I46 for cleaning and dig up the skeletons of a Steller sea lion and an American alligator! Can't wait to clean these skeletons up and see what kind of stories they have to tell.
Earlier this month, I46, an adult male northern resident killer whale was found dead and floating in the waters off Tofino, B.C. We brought a small crew out to the West Coast to assist in the necropsy and collect the skeleton. The cause of I46's death is not yet known. Stay tuned to learn more about this exciting new project...
At the beginning of this month, we put together a great last-minute crew of specialists and volunteers to recover a juvenile humpback skeleton for the collections of the Royal B.C. Museum. The young animal had been found dead within the predator net of a fish farm at the beginning of April. The circumstances of its death are not yet understood.
This was a logistically complex expedition involving the collaboration of Fisheries, the Royal BC Museum and Cetacea and required. It involved travel by truck and boat to a remote location off the west coast of Vancouver Island (and, typically, was organized over the Easter long weekend!) To learn more about this exciting project, check out our media page.