BINH THUAN – The skeleton of a 15 metre-long sperm whale has been restored and is being exhibited on Phu Quy Island, in southern Binh Thuan Province, said Dang Minh Tri, the head of the island's Cultural Information Department.
|Sperm whale skeleton is on display on Quy Phu Island. Photo Tri Nguyen
The head of the gigantic skeleton reaches to about a third of the animal's length.
Dao Tan Ho, a researcher of marine species from the Nha Trang Oceanography Institute said the skeleton was the most complete of any on show in the country.
The restoration work, which cost VND1.8 billion (US$86,000) and took three months to complete, was carried out by scientists from Nha Trang Institute of Oceanography.
The skeleton is being exhibited at Van An Thanh Cultural and Historical Relic museum on Phu Quy Island alongside five smaller whale skeletons that have also just been restored.
The island authorities are planning to build Van An Thanh into a marine museum. They also plan to exhibit pictures and documents on indigenous whale species.
Ho said a mature sperm whale grows to about 17 metres long and weighs 45-55 tonnes.
From the 18th century to the 20th century, sperm whales were hunted for their spermaceti and oil, which were used to make candles, soap, cosmetics and machine oil.
Today the species is protected.
To Vietnamese people who live in coastal areas, whales are considered gods who safeguard fishermen and bring bountiful catches.
Whale-worshipping temples can be found in many coastal provinces from the central to southern region. – VNS