After 249 days, the Singapore Sperm Whale (Physeter macrocephalus) is finally ready to meet the public. It has been an amazing journey for the museum, and we thank all who have helped.

Do come and see the #SGWhale and discover more about her story, and how we can be better stewards of the marine environment!

See you at the museum!

Source: Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum Facebook

HAPPENING NOW: The lovely bones of Jubilee the Sperm Whale (Physeter macrocephalus) have officially gone on display at the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum.

Photos: Ngau Kai Yan

Source: Channel NewsAsia Facebook

Visitors can get a closer look at the Singapore Whale at the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum
Photos: Audrey Tan

Get up close to the Singapore Whale at the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum
By Audrey Tan, 14th March 2016;

Get up close to the Republic’s very own Moby Dick from Tuesday (March 15), when the skeleton of a Sperm Whale (Physeter macrocephalus) found here goes on display at the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum.

The exhibit, on display at the mammals section, was unveiled on Monday evening by Ms Ho Ching, chief executive of Temasek Holdings, at the official launch of the Jubilee Whale Exhibit.

Unlike most other Whale skeleton exhibits, that are usually hung horizontally near the ceiling, the Singapore Whale will be displayed in a diving pose, with its enormous skull just 1m off the floor.

“We wanted to give the Whale a natural pose in a limited space,” explained museum conservator Kate Pocklington, who was part of the museum’s team of five researchers involved in the preservation of the skeleton.

Other than marvelling at the sheer size of the marine mammal, visitors to the museum, in the National University of Singapore, can also learn more about its biology, the threats faced by these creatures, and the story of its discovery.

The carcass of the 10.6m-long adult female Sperm Whale was found floating off Jurong Island on July 10, 2015 – the first time that the marine mammal has been spotted in Singapore waters.

It was nicknamed Jubi Lee by staff at the museum, as it had been found during the nation’s Golden Jubilee year.

After it was found, researchers from the museum worked for months to preserve the skeleton and collect as much data as possible from the carcass.

The museum’s head, Professor Peter Ng, told The Straits Times that it was rare for the Whale skeleton to be preserved and mounted in just eight months.

“In most countries, the carcass is buried, allowed to rot, and only after several years is the skeleton excavated. Months or years may pass before the skeleton is made ready,” he said.

“We have expedited the process through very hard work – no mean feat. And it did not come cheap.”

The museum has raised about $1.3 million for scientific and educational efforts related to the Sperm Whale carcass.

Half of it went to setting up the exhibit, while the remaining half will be used for marine biodiversity education and research.

The museum intends to use the Whale to highlight the importance of keeping the oceans healthy.

Sperm Whales feed mainly on squid, which have beaks that cannot be digested. But researchers also found plastic trash in the whale’s gut.

Ambassador-at-large Tommy Koh, who attended a fundraising dinner for the whale in February, said he was overjoyed by the return of a Whale to Singapore.

The skeleton of a 13m-long Indian Fin Whale (a disused name for Blue Whale) (Balaenoptera musculus) had been displayed at the old National Museum from 1907 to 1974 before it was presented as a gift to Malaysia.

Prof Koh said: “Jubi Lee is even better than the Whale we gave away because it was found in our waters, because it belongs to a species seldom found in our waters, and because the skeleton is in perfect order.”

Source: The Straits Times

And she’s up!

Come visit the museum over this March School Holidays! Mastercard holders get 20% off admission tickets from now till 31st March!

Source: Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum Instagram

Measuring 2.2m long, the skull of the Sperm Whale (Physeter macrocephalus) is a giant on its own!

The asymmetric skull is also crucial in aiding the Sperm Whale in hunting and navigation. Its shape aids in echo-location, allowing the Sperm Whales to perceive direction.

We are all hyped up for the unveiling of our latest exhibit! Stay tune for pictures of #Jubi the #SGWhale, who will grace the halls of @lkcnhm from tomorrow!

Photo by Iffah Iesa

Source: Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum Instagram

With the sheer number of bones, putting the skeleton back together in the right order after preservation is complete would be a challenge!

To avoid more confusion when assembling the skeleton, everything was labeled with multi-coloured cable ties. After all, museum staff are well known for having an inordinate fondness for labeling!

From now till 15 March, we will be sharing exclusive pictures and accounts from the team behind #Jubi the #SGWhale. Follow us for more!

Source: Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum Instagram

After stripping off the flesh from the skeleton, the next step was to prepare the bones for preservation. This was definitely not helped by porosity of the whale bones, which held in it a lot of oil that needs to be removed!

To help hasten the process of oil removal, we blanched the bones with hot water and used eco-friendly degreasers.

From now till 15 March, we will be sharing exclusive pictures and accounts from the team behind #Jubi the #sgwhale. Follow us for more!

Photo by Chen Mingshi

Source: Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum Instagram

Some of the key organs of the Whale that we were keen to get to were the stomach and intestines. The gut contents can be useful for scientific research, giving us more information about its diet!

Unfortunately, apart from its usual prey, we also found several plastic objects which were inadvertently ingested. Although not the cause of death, this serves as a grim reminder about the state of our marine environment.

From now till 15 March, we will be sharing exclusive pictures and accounts from the team behind #Jubi the #SGWhale. Follow us for more!

Photo by Tammy Lim

Source: Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum Instagram

Look who came snooping around for dinner? This Malayan Water Monitor (Varanus salvator) was caught on camera trying to snag a free meal!

Thankfully, we covered up the Whale carcass at the end of every day to prevent any bones from being taken by opportunistic animals, such as this Malayan Water Monitor.

From now till 15 March, we will be sharing exclusive pictures and accounts from the team behind #Jubi the #SGWhale. Follow us for more!

Photo by Marcus Chua

Source: Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum Instagram

Apart from the stench, we had many “visitors” who accompanied us. Flies, from the family Calliphoridae, Muscidae, and Phoridae, fed on the fluids from the decomposing Whale carcass, while their maggots helped clean out the flesh from tight crevices of the Whale bones.

It wasn’t just the flies who joined the party. Not one to shy away from free food, the skin beetles (Dermestidae) also partook in the “buffet”, while the predatory beetles (Cleridae) probably had a hard time deciding which maggot was the juiciest!

From now till 15 March, we will be sharing exclusive pictures and accounts from the team behind #Jubi the #SGWhale debut. Follow us for more!

Photo by Foo Maosheng

Source: Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum Instagram