Whale takes center stage at National Museum

Rhodina Villanueva - The Philippine Star
Whale takes center stage at National Museum
Visitors line up during the unveiling of the National Museum’s newest permanent display – the Marinduque Sperm Whale, a whale skeleton measuring 43.5 feet suspended from the ceiling. The National Museum celebrated yesterday World Whale Day, which raises awareness of the majestic creatures and their plight.
Walter Bollozos

MANILA, Philippines — To celebrate World Whale Day, the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) in Rizal Park, Manila, yesterday unveiled to the public its newest permanent display: the Marinduque Sperm Whale.

“At the Hyundai Philippines Entrance Hall of the NMNH was the Marinduque Sperm Whale, a 13.25-meter (43.5 feet) long sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) skeleton suspended from the ceiling,” the National Museum said in a statement.

“The story of how the skeleton of the whale came to the National Museum began in 1994, when a report from Porferio de Guzman of Barangay Buangan, Torrijos, Marinduque regarding a sperm whale found on the beach there was received. Recovered, cleaned, preserved and kept by another local, Luciano Matienzo, the almost completely intact male skeleton was purchased from him and brought to Manila as a prominent highlight of the museum’s collection of osteological specimens. Twenty-five years later, the Marinduque Sperm Whale will now welcome visitors to the National Museum of Natural History as they walk through its doors,” it added.

The sperm whale is the largest toothed whale in the world. It is one of the most iconic species of whale, made popular by Herman Melvilles’ classic novel Moby Dick.  

“This deep-diving whale was once abundant in seas all over the world, including in and around the Philippines, but was hunted heavily by humans from the 18th to the early 20th centuries for its oil,” the statement noted.

In the Philippines, sperm whales can be seen alone or in groups in Bohol Sea and Sulu Sea and around the Batanes group of islands.

“Now considered endangered, they are protected by local and international laws,” the group added.

World Whale Day is celebrated annually to raise awareness of these majestic creatures and their plight. Founded in Maui, Hawaii in 1980 to honor the humpback whales that migrate to its waters to breed, this special day is now celebrated all over the world to show support for whales everywhere.



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