Whale Display Project
Almost every summer during storms, one or more dead whales float into the reefs around Palau. In May 2004 during stormy weather, 15 year old Tkel Etpison was surfboarding off a Rock Island beach in shallow water when he spotted several large tiger sharks. A 35 feet dead Minke whale carcass was found washed up further along the beach, with tiger sharks patrolling the reef and feeding on it at high tide. The whale had a large Orca bite on its back, probably the cause of death. After observing the tigers for several days, we floated the whale skeleton back to Koror and buried it for two years before cleaning and puzzling the bones back together for display in the museum. In 2006 a baby Sperm whale floated up on an eastern reef, and we were able to dive with tiger sharks there, but were not able to recover that whale carcass.