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Body of Killer Whale Nami Dug Up for Display at Taiji Whale Museum

April 25, 2012

The skeletal remains of killer whale (orca) Nami exhumed for display at Taiji Whale Museum

The skeletal remains of a killer whale (Orcinus orca) were exhumed on Tuesday to become part of the display at the Taiji Whale Museum in Wakayama Prefecture, Japan.

Nami, also known as Nami-Chan, died January 14, 2011 at the Port of Nagoya Public Aquarium just 7 months after being transferred there from her captive home of 24 years in Taiji.

According to Japanese news reports, Nami’s body was returned to Taiji seven months ago and buried to allow for decomposition of the 28-year-young killer whale. She was the last surviving orca captured in Japanese waters.

Captured off the Taiji coast in October of 1985 when she was barely 3 years old, Nami was forced to perform at the Taiji Whale Museum in an enclosed sea pen at the seaside marine park for 24 years. In June of 2010 she was sent by barge to the Port of Nagoya Public Aquarium to become a part of a breeding program in conjunction with Kamogawa SeaWorld. It is during her stay in Taiji where she is suspected to have ingested some 491 stones weighing 81.4 kilograms (179.5 lbs) found lodged in her stomach during a necropsy performed following her death.

491 stones in killer whale Nami's stomach ~ necropsy photo

More recently, The Port of Nagoya Public Aquarium teamed up with external experts to further examine what caused Nami’s death and review how killer whales should be raised in captivity. The results of their findings were presented by a team of veterinarians at the Asian Zoo/ Wildlife Histopathology and Parasitology Conference, hosted by the Asian Society of Wildlife Pathology and Parasitology. They concluded Nami’s death represented the first documentation of a specific rare fungal disease in a marine mammal. Read more about it HERE.

Nami at Port of Nagoya Aquarium August 2010

Nami at Port of Nagoya

Taiji, notorious for the brutal slaughter of whales and dolphins— perpetuated by the marine park industry— was the focus of the 2009 Oscar winning documentary “The Cove”. For more information on the dolphin drives of Taiji- please visit “The Cove” website and “Ric O’Barry’s Save Japan Dolphins”.

In our January 2011 report announcing Nami’s death— we closed by stating “Rest in Peace, Nami. You are finally free.” Unfortunately, the town of Taiji had other things in mind and the exploitation of this amazing soul will continue… even in death.

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