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Gustavus library displays killer whale calf skeleton

Posted: March 7, 2014 - 12:01am

After nine years of anticipation, Glacier Bay’s killer whale calf has finally found a permanent home in the Gustavus Community Library, according to a press release from the National Park Service. Found dead in Glacier Bay in August 2005, the entire skeleton was collected for future educational display and on Feb. 14 it was installed.

Articulation specialist Lee Post, from Homer, worked with community members and students for two weeks to ready the skeleton for viewing. Lee estimates this to be only one of eight complete killer whale skeletons on public display in the United States.

Glacier Bay National Park organizers hosted an open house on Tuesday, Feb. 25 to celebrate the culmination of this nine-year project. The Glacier Bay interpretive division facilitated an evening of orca-themed events and presentations, and welcomed honored guests from the Hoonah Indian Association to perform a Tlingit blessing of the whale, according to the release. A special name Keet’k’ meaning “little killer whale” was given to commemorate the return of her spirit.

Partners in the project include Alaska Geographic, Gustavus School, Gustavus Community Library, as well as more than 60 Gustavus community volunteers and friends.

Viewing of the specimen is available by visiting the Gustavus Community Library, which is open Monday through Saturday. Call 907-697-2350 for daily hours of operation.

To learn more about Glacier Bay’s orca articulation project visit:

http://www.nps.gov/glba/naturescience/killer-whale-articulation-project.htm.

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