Death by old age

Photo by Darrell Blatchley
Photo by Darrell Blatchley

THE Sperm whale that washed up ashore in the Barangay Sugal Jose Abad Santos, Davao Occidental died of old age, said D’Bone Collector Museum founder Darrell D. Blatchley.

“The scratches on the whale were from it banging into the rocks after it [was] stranded. there were no ‘wounds’ just scratches. Cause of death [was] old age; blood from decomposing and starting to leak out,” Blatchley said in an interview with Sun Star Davao.

Blatchley said that the death of the sperm whale is a rare case.

“After 12 years and 75 animals, he joined the only 15 that actually died of Natural Causes. He lived a long life and I will know his age later in the preservation but he washed up dead on Sikalig beach, a peaceful area in Barangay Sugal Jose Abad Santos,” Blatchley said.

Blatchley said it took them six days to debone the sperm whale that was 60 feet long and between 9.5 to 10.5 feet wide.

“It took five days of cutting and one day to load the bones. The meat was buried on site. There were five locals that were a big help [in] removing the bones. They help make the work go faster. It was stinky nasty work full of maggots” Blatchley said.

Blatchley said several challenges during the deboning of the sperm whale made it hard for them to debone it.

“It was quite a distance from the road and at the bottom of a cliff. So, a road was made with a backhoe to the beach to access the whale [and] to be able to haul the bones up. Combine that with the fact it is Summer and the sun's heat is a real enemy for the workers so we worked at night. That adds [to] the need for generators and floodlights. Also, the tide was a factor,” Blatchley said.

Blatchley said they brought the bones of the sperm whale to Davao City to process its preservation.

“Now the removal of the meat and the oil takes months, if not, nearly a year plus to remove the oil. Then the drying stage and making the framework to stand it on and the building or room it will be displayed in,” Blatchley said.

Meanwhile, Blatchley said they did not find any ambergris in the sperm whale.

“None was found, in fact, in 12 years none has ever been found,” Blatchley said.


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