LÝ SƠN Two giant whale skeletons have been restored on Lý Sơn Island, in the central province of Quảng Ngãi.
The skeletons date between 250 and 300 years. They are 18m and 22m long, and nearly 4m high, the biggest of their kind preserved in Việt Nam.
It took more than two months for the technicians to finish the restoration work as the bones were in very poor condition, with 40 per cent having been damaged.
“The two whale skeletons were severely damaged due to the very humid weather of the region, which is a coastal locality. We decided to plasticise the rotting bones, and conjoined them by stainless steel inside, and reassembled them to get the finished products,” Đặng Trung Hiếu, a technician from the Cá Mặt Trời Company, which is responsible for the work, said.
The skeletons were then reconstructed to simulate the position of whales swimming.
Whales, often referred to as “Cá Ông” (Mr Whale) in Vietnamese are worshipped by fishermen in Việt Nam as Gods who help them when they face difficulties at sea, and ensure a good catch.
Lý Sơn Island is said to be ‘the biggest museum’ of whales in the country. On the island, there are seven temples worshipping whales where tens of skeletons are kept.
The local people are pleased with this project, as it is the first to help preserve the remains of the holy animal in their locality.
“We are very happy that the State has paid attention to this. With the State’s care the whale skeletons will be preserved for many years to come,” Nguyễn Thành Châu, a resident of Đông Anh Vĩnh Commune on Lý Sơn, said.
The restoration project, including the restoration of skeletons and the construction of an exhibition house, has a total investment of over VNĐ14 billion (US$616,000).
The local authority said the project aimed to preserve the traditional beliefs of local residents and promote tourism. VNS