Talks & Performances

Google+ Hangout on Air: Recovering a Blue Whale

Blue Whale skeleton on display in the Beaty Biodiversity Museum, BC. Photo by alans1948 via Flickr Creative Commons. Cropped.

Join us for this special hangout with our team in Newfoundland who are working to recover a Blue Whale carcass.

We'll talk to Dr. Mark Engstrom, Deputy Director of Collections and Research as well as Dr. Burton Lim (@BurtonLim), Assistant Curator of Mammalogy as they work to recover the Blue Whale carcass and ready it for transport to the Museum. These unfortunate deaths due to unusual ice formations in the ocean are an unprecedented opportunity to study one of the more endangered species of marine mammals. We have only one rib of a blue whale in our collection and there are few complete skeletons in museums throughout the world. At approximately 30 metres in length and 180 tons in weight, the blue whale is the largest species to ever live on Earth. So they are about the same length as Gordo the Barosaurus in the ROM dinosaur gallery, but almost 10 times as heavy. Retrieving two blue whales will be easier said than done so join us for this special hangout to hear about the team's progess.

Quick Facts

  • In April 2014, at least nine blue whales were caught in the ice off the southwest coast of Newfoundland and were killed. The remains of two whales washed ashore in the coastal communities of Rocky Harbour and Trout River, Newfoundland and Labrador.
  • Blue whales are listed as endangered under Schedule 1 of the federal Species at Risk Act. They are regularly seen along the southwest corner of Newfoundland in the spring where they feed along the ice edge, and have been killed by ice movement in this area previously.
  • It is unprecedented to have this number of this endangered species perish at once in a single area. The deaths are likely as a result of the record-breaking severe ice conditions this winter in the North Atlantic, combined with the unique topography of the Newfoundland southwest coast.

Read more: "Solution in the works to deal with whale carcasses on Newfoundland shore" Globe and Mail, May 1, 2014

Ask questions through Twitter using #AskROM  and follow @ROMBiodiversity or through the Q&A function.

Date & Time

  • May 8, 2014




Belong at the ROM

ROM membership is your best value!  Join now and save on selected programs and events. 

Authored by: Ryan Dodge

Authored by: Ryan Dodge