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Jakarta Post

Skeleton of whale washed up on North Sumatra coast to be preserved in museum: Regent

  • Apriadi Gunawan

    The Jakarta Post

Medan   /   Thu, January 16, 2020   /   01:18 pm
Skeleton of whale washed up on North Sumatra coast to be preserved in museum: Regent A 20-ton humpback whale has died after being stranded on the coast of Asahan regency, North Sumatra on Saturday afternoon. (Kompas/Asahan fishery and maritime affairs agency )

The skeleton of a humpback whale that was recently found dead after being stranded on the coast of Asahan regency in North Sumatra is to be preserved and added to one of the museum collections in the province, the local administration has said.

Asahan regent Surya said that the whale’s carcass, which was found on Saturday, has started rotting. He is therefore concerned that it might spread viruses around the area where it was discovered.

To avoid a potential health hazard and environmental pollution, Surya said the administration decided to preserve the whale’s skeleton to be exhibited in a museum.

He said he had already contacted a team from the museum to inspect the whale's carcass, which as of Tuesday was still about 1.5 kilometers off the coast of Silo Baru where it was first found.

“We hope the whale could be an educational tool for the public in one of the museums' collections in the future," Surya said. However, he did not mention a specific museum where the whale skeleton might be displayed.

On Saturday afternoon, a fisherman found the whale in Asahan waters. The whale, which weighed about 20 tons, had previously been stranded at Silo Baru village in Asahan regency. 

Silo Baru village chief Ahmad Sofyan said that prior to its death, the whale was found 500 meters from the village on Wednesday. Sofyan added that the fishermen manage to return the whale to the sea. 

However, two days later, the fishermen found the whale again off Asahan's shore. They planned to return the whale to the sea the next day because the tide was still shallow. Unfortunately, the whale died before they managed to do so. 

The authorities have yet to find out what caused the whale’s death. However, an officer who cleaned the whale’s carcass said he suspected the whale died because it unable to breathe after being stranded ashore.   

This was the first time that fishermen in Asahan waters had found a dead whale in the area. (dpk)