News Release

REF NO.: 123

SUBJECT: Memorial and Royal Ontario Museum partner to keep whale in province

DATE: May 20, 2014

Memorial University and the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) have reached a tentative agreement that will see the remains of one of the blue whale carcasses on the province’s west coast come to the university.
President Gary Kachanoski said the university doesn’t have the expertise to dismantle and treat the whale carcass, so a partnership with the ROM will allow for the appropriate treatment of the animal’s remains and ensure this educational and cultural artifact remains in the province.
Dr. Kachanoski recently met with the mayor of Rocky Harbour, Walter Nicolle, to discuss the issue of the whale carcass. The conversation was followed by further discussion with the ROM and Memorial’s dean of science.
“This is a rare opportunity,” said Dr. Mark Abrahams, dean, Faculty of Science. “Having the remains of a blue whale displayed at the university is a great teaching and learning opportunity for our students, staff and visitors.” 
Dr. Abrahams said properly treating a blue whale so it can be displayed can take as long as three or four years. He said details about where and when it will be accessible to the public have yet to be determined.
"This is a rare and important opportunity to study an endangered animal and the ROM is pleased to be able to lend our expertise to recovery efforts," said Dr. Mark Engstrom, deputy director, Collections & Research, ROM.
The ROM will continue to disarticulate and clean the whale carcass; Memorial will look to the ROM’s experts to advise on next steps.

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