Suquamish tribe retrieves bones of gray whale

by Tim Flanagan on January 30, 2012

This story appears in the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission:

The Suquamish Tribe’s shellfish coordinator Luke Kelly pulls out the whale’s baleen plates to dry on the deck of the tribe’s barge.

The Suquamish Tribe recently pulled up a net full of bones of a gray whale from Agate Pass, with hopes of rebuilding the skeleton for educational purposes.

The tribe acquired the remains of the juvenile whale in July 2011 after the mammal beached itself and died near Silverdale. After biologists gathered tissue samples, the tribe wrapped the whale in net material and towed it to Agate Pass to let it naturally decompose.

While the soft tissue had completely decomposed, many of the bones were found to be broken or too brittle to use, including the skull, which was partially crushed by the weight of the rest of the bones.

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