Fort Bragg Wins Blue Whale Skeleton

Program to Tell The Blue Whale Story Set During Fort Bragg Whale Festival March 20 at C.V. Starr Center A couple of months ago, a giant blue whale washed up on Fort Bragg’s shore, the victim of an accidental ship strike. Thanks to the work of a team of people from Humboldt State College and […]

Program to Tell The Blue Whale Story Set During Fort Bragg Whale Festival March 20 at C.V. Starr Center

Photographer Larry Wagner captured this rare photo of a blue whale just south of the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens in Fort Bragg.
Photographer Larry Wagner captured this rare photo of a blue whale just south of the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens in Fort Bragg.

A couple of months ago, a giant blue whale washed up on Fort Bragg’s shore, the victim of an accidental ship strike. Thanks to the work of a team of people from Humboldt State College and locals, the whale carcass was removed and buried to allow the earth to reclaim the flesh and leave behind a clean skeleton. Where the whale was buried is a closely held secret, but it it’s someplace in Fort Bragg, my sources tell me.

Local wildlife biologist Ron LeValley said recently that there are only 10 complete skeletons preserved and on display in the entire world. So, it was good news this past week when the City of Fort Bragg got word that it will get to keep the skeleton for some future exhibit. Assembling and mounting could cost upwards of $1 million, he said. Here’s the complete story from a city press release:

The City has received formal notification from the National Marine Fisheries Service that the City has been authorized “to possess the complete skeleton and baleen of a blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus) for use in an educational display at a publicly accessible location within the City of Fort Bragg or at an alternative site on non-City property.”

The skeleton of the blue whale that was struck by a boat off the Mendocino coast last fall is presently buried in an undisclosed location and it will be ready for disinterment and reassembly in approximately two years. The

Friends of the Blue Whale will be presenting an educational program by Biologists Ron LeValley and Jeff Jacobsen on the evening of Saturday, March 20th (during the Whale Festival) to tell the story about how the community came together to recover the skeleton and to share information about the life of a blue whale. The presentation will be held at the C.V. Starr Community Center.