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Even after 30 years remains in sperm whale Valentine's day stink! Koksijde invests 220,000 euros in excavation skeleton
Koksijde Thirty years after his burial, the bones of sperm whale Valentine of Saint-André back above the earth in Koksijde. Within two to three years, the reconstructed skeleton is the showpiece in the Navigo fishery museum in Oostduinkerke.

On February 12, 1989 rinsed the sperm whale on the beach of Saint-André. 300,000 visitors came along. This week, thirty years later, dig employees of the department of morphology of the faculty of animal medicine of the University of Ghent, the animal of 17 meters long. The bones are at five meters depth. The contractor shall carry 750 cubic metres of earth excavation. “This is unique in the world,” says professor Pieter Cornillie. “Especially because the animal is already so long ago is buried in a solid surface with clay. Therefore, the skeleton is remarkably well preserved. We already knew that after the pilot study six years ago, but it is also for us a surprise how the sperm whale kept. At Monday night must be the sperm whale to remain exposed. Afterwards, we will the animal eruithalen and cut for transport. The Antwerp afvalverwerkingsfirma Indaver the meat will destroy them. We put the bones in a bath, especially with enzymes, so that they are fully cleaned. That will take a few years. The puzzle will consist of a hundred parts. We hope within three years, the result show in the Navigo fishery museum in Oostduinkerke.”

Always plan the

“When we got the sperm whale thirty years ago buried, it was with the intention the animal to dig,” says mayor Marc Vanden Bussche (LB). “The stench has remained. And it is remarkable in what good condition the animal is. We will the museum grow so that we the skeleton in all its glory exhibit. It should be the showpiece. Many people are intrigued by this story. We have invested 220,000 euros in the project. In that amount are the renovation works in the museum are not yet included.”

Tribute to my dad

from the start Monday morning, there was people at the excavation site live. That can besides, every day between 9 and 17 hours. Video surveillance ensures that there is no interference. One of the attendees on Monday was contractor Henry Brown. “I was fifteen years old when the sperm whale in Koksijde came ashore. I can me the stench is so for the spirit. My father the late Ivan Brown has the animal, when free of charge buried. That we Valentine's day are now allowed to dig it up, I see it as a tribute to my dad. My son Matisse (10) is along with the kraanman, that proves that this story generations beyond.”

Who is not on the spot hit on the site along the At Bogaerdelaan in Koksijde, can works also on www.navigomuseum.be/potvisvalentijn.

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