Museum set to examine dolphin carcass

The dolphin carcass being removed by Ramky Cleantech Services workers yesterday. The workers poured disinfectant over the carcass and the surrounding area. They then wrapped it in trash bags and canvas sheets, before lifting it up with a large canvas bag
The dolphin carcass being removed by Ramky Cleantech Services workers yesterday. The workers poured disinfectant over the carcass and the surrounding area. They then wrapped it in trash bags and canvas sheets, before lifting it up with a large canvas bag to a lorry which took it to the company's Loyang office. ST PHOTO: NG HUIWEN

Lee Kong Chian museum to decide whether to salvage it 'for science' after scrutiny by its researchers

The fate of the dolphin carcass that washed ashore at East Coast Park on Wednesday remains unclear as of yesterday, as a local museum looks into whether it is suitable for preservation.

The Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum said it hopes to "salvage the specimen for science", though its researchers will have to examine the carcass further before making a decision.

"It is likely that the dolphin's skeleton can be processed, but we don't know for sure yet," said the museum's curator of mammals and birds, Mr Marcus Chua.

He has identified the carcass as belonging to an indo-pacific humpbacked dolphin, also known as the pink dolphin. It is the most commonly sighted dolphin species in Singapore waters.

 

Sales manager Nigel Lim, 36, was cycling with his wife and two children, aged two and four, at about 11am on Wednesday when he discovered the dead dolphin on the beach next to Big Splash.

"I happened to park my bicycle by the side and walked to see the beach and boats. It looked like a big floating buoy but upon closer look, it was a carcass," said Mr Lim, who posted a picture of it on Facebook, before a friend alerted the authorities.

When The Straits Times visited the area yesterday morning, flies were seen swarming around the punctured abdomen of the carcass. It appeared to be badly decomposed, with a portion of its tail skeleton exposed.

A dead dolphin of the same species was found at East Coast Park by beach-goers in July 2014. The carcass was retrieved and handed over to the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum, though it is unclear if it was preserved.

At East Coast Park yesterday, workers were seen removing the carcass from the beach to a lorry just before noon, about 25 hours after it was first discovered.

Earlier at about 9.45am, a three-member team from the National Parks Board had cordoned off the area around the carcass. They left soon after.

Later, the carcass was removed by workers from Ramky Cleantech Services. Donning face masks and gloves, they were seen pouring disinfectant over the carcass and the surrounding area. They then wrapped it in trash bags and canvas sheets, before lifting it up with a large canvas bag to a lorry.

Ramky site manager Jenny Khng, who oversaw the operation, said the carcass was taken to its Loyang office, as they awaited further instructions from the authorities.

The Straits Times understands that the museum has since taken over the 2m-long carcass, but the museum's Mr Chua declined to reveal its current location.

Mr Lim, the man who had stumbled upon the carcass, hopes the museum will be able to keep and eventually display the dolphin specimen. "Then I'll have more reasons to take my kids there to see it."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 08, 2016, with the headline 'Museum set to examine dolphin carcass'. Print Edition | Subscribe