Skeleton of blue whale almost ready for display in Newport
NEWPORT, Ore. (KPTV) - The long migration for a blue whale found washed up on the Oregon coast in 2015 is not over yet.
With the help of Dinosaur Valley Studios in Alberta, Canada, the skeleton is still being put back together for eventual display. President Frank Hadfield first had the idea to help assemble it when he heard of the story five years ago.
“We work globally,” Hadfield said. “When I heard of this opportunity in Oregon, I reached out immediately to (Oregon State University).”
The 70-foot blue whale washed ashore near Gold Beach on the southern Oregon coast in 2015. OSU led the efforts to research and preserve the whale. Director of the Marine Mammal Institute Lisa Ballance said they were looking for a way to make it last.
“I realized about a year ago, if we wanted to do this, I wanted to do it right,” she said.
Ballance said a team of nearly 50 volunteers also worked initially on preserving the whale. That included putting as many of its bones in bags and bringing them to the Yaquina Bay to soak naturally.
“(We) sunk those bags in Yaquina Bay for almost three years to let seawater and invertebrate organisms clean off the organic material,” she said.
Ballance said to do it right, she needed to connect to a professional like Hadfield.
“The idea is when someone comes to look at the skeleton they will actually be able to envision a live blue whale as its swimming through the water,” Ballance said.
Hadfield says that’s exactly what will happen in this step.
“It’s a combination of art and engineering that’s needed to reconstruct this and get it on display,” Hadfield said.
The display will go outside the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport. Oregon State is still hoping to raise about $150,000 for the project. You can donate here.
Hadfield says they hope to have it completed by the fall and then return it to Oregon.
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