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VDNG: The History of the Blue Whale



A female blue whale was captured in Antarctica. It is believed to be one of the world's largest specimens – 26 metres long and weighing 140 tonnes. In 1960s this exhibit was installed in Kyiv, at VDNG, in pavilion "Gifts of the Sea" № 11. At the beginning of 1970s the exposition of the pavilion was changed, and the whale skeleton was taken outside and renovated. The whale stood there for another 20 years.


In the early 1990s, students of the nearby veterinary faculty of Agrarian University  saw a sad scene at VDNG – apart from the head, almost the entire whale skeleton was dismantled. Talking to the soldiers who were assigned the work, the students reported the story to Oleg Petrovich Melnyk, head of the department of animal anatomy, histology and pathomorphology of Academician Kasyanenko. Melnyk asked the VDNG management to donate the remains of the skeleton to the university’s museum. Negotiations did not take place immediately, as the skeleton was claimed by the Academy of Sciences, which did not even have the fuel to move the skeleton to another place at the time.

After a while, the "evacuation" of the skeleton to the university began. Although the veterinary building was not far away – 15 minutes on foot – it was not easy to move the huge and heavy bones. At first, the students carried the small pieces directly in their hands or even dragged them in the snow! After that it was still possible to find a car and deliver the remains to the enclosure.

The skeleton lay disassembled for a long time, and it was only in 2010 that it was put together and installed on the faculty grounds. However, it is only the whale's spine. After all, there is not enough space to install the complete skeleton, together with the ribs.


Now the rescued skeleton can be seen by all interested near the building of veterinary medicine of the National university of bioresources and nature resources management of Ukraine, 16, Polkovnyka Potekhina str.