The dead whale was found by villagers on September 15, morning, a biodiversity conservationist from the University of Uyo, Edem Eniang told Premium times.
He said residents of Okpo Ita in Ibeno local government area of the state had already started cutting some body parts of the 16 meters long whale for use as meat.
“I observed that something close to four meters was missing,” Eniang said.
He also said many tourists have been attracted to the location where the whale is since the news broke.
“So, by being a signatory to that convention, we have to account for whales and other similar species that pass through our territory,” he said. “Whales are national heritage. In Nigeria, the living whales are our national heritage. The carcasses are our heritage as well. “Conservation International (CI) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) recognise this region – the Akwa Ibom shoreline, all the way to Gabon, Central Africa and to Ghana– as the gulf of Guinea biodiversity hotspot.
“Now, it serves as their breeding ground. So, when they travel from the North Pole to South Pole, they hang around this our area to conduct their sexual activities from courtship play, dance, and so on, which is what we normally see in videos when they jump out of water, dive back and play. “It is in this area they have their reproductive activities and raise their young ones before they are able to swim back to the North Pole.
Eniang persuaded the local and state government to preserve the remaining carcass as a national heritage.
“In our own local environment, when something dies the people don’t know that it still has value. The carcass lying there is a very serious national monument; the skeleton must be collected, curated, and mounted for recreational, scientific and research use,”