Story of whale stuck in Thames goes on display

18 January 2011, 12:23 | Updated: 18 January 2011, 12:28

An exhibition telling the story of how a 6 metre long whale became stuck in the River Thames in 2006 is going on display in Hertfordshire.

Visitors to the Natural History Museum in Tring will be able to see the skeleton of the female bottlenose and learn all the about the fight to save her.

According to the Museum, the northern bottlenose whale was the first of its species to be seen in the river since Museum scientists began recording strandings around our coastline almost 100 years ago.

The whale’s skeleton has now joined the Museum’s collections, where it has been preserved and studied by curators and made available to international researchers.

Richard Sabin is the Senior Mammal Curator at The Natural History Museum. He’s been telling just how big an impact the whale’s arrival back in 2006 had on the country:

“I’ve never known anything quite like this. Within two of arriving quite early in the morning at the river we had people abandoning their cars, the police turned up, it was like a festival atmosphere. Literally because mobile phones had taken off by that point. The press turned up, helicopters were overhead, boats out on the river. It was quite chaotic.”

Richard continued to tell Heart just how important it is to have the skeleton of the whale in Hertfordshire:

“Its hugely significant because its only one of few specimens that we have here that we consider to be a celebrity specimen – Guy the gorilla from London Zoo, Chi Chi the Panda also from London Zoo. These are animals that have a really well documented back story that people have made a connected with.

“People can learn more about the science, lots of interactive displays, and also great activities for kids so they can learn more about why we do what we do do, and how specimens work.

The exhibition starts on Saturday January 22nd and lasts until May 2nd.

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