Taiji museum holds memorial service for dead whale

Kyodo

A whale museum in Taiji, Wakayama Prefecture, held a memorial service Monday for a whale that died there shortly after its birth in fiscal 2011.

Katsuki Hayashi, the general manager of the museum, said that recent improvements in workers’ skills at the facility have minimized the number of animal deaths.

The museum keeps 34 whales spanning seven species. The newborn calf was only whale to die last year.

“We’d like to make efforts to eliminate the number of deaths for fiscal 2012, too,” Hayashi said.

The museum also houses 453 fish covering 52 species and 205 invertebrates from 35 species.

Taiji is well known for its tradition of dolphin and whale hunting, and its annual dolphin slaughter has drawn criticism and protests from environmental activists around the world.