For Haida Gwaii schools, two dolphin heads are better than one.
Two days after a Risso’s dolphin washed up nearly intact on east beach near Tlell on Feb. 20, a less intact white-sided dolphin washed up in nearly the same spot.
Stu Crawford, a biologist with the Council of the Haida Nation, is hoping to clean and articulate the skeletons of both dolphins, then have them displayed in local school.
“If we have two of them, there can be one display at the north and one display at the south end, and then it’s something for all of Haida Gwaii,” said Crawford.
But before Crawford could collect the white-sided dolphin, a local beachcomber made off with its head.
“It’s understandable,” said Crawford, noting that a white-sided dolphin skull is quite a find, especially when complete with dozens and dozens of teeth.
But Crawford hopes that whoever found the head will email him so the whole skeleton can be re-united and displayed at a Haida Gwaii school.
If it is returned, Crawford also hopes to display the skull with a compete set of its 100-odd teeth.
“You very rarely see a dolphin skull prepared with teeth in, which is unfortunate because they have so many rows and rows,” he said.
“The teeth aren’t actually in sockets — they’re secured with a really tough gum,” he said, adding that it takes extra care to set the teeth aside in order, then glue them in place once the bones are de-greased.
To contact Crawford about the skull, email stu.crawford[at]gmail.com.