The Coastal and Marine Biodiversity Centre (CMCB) in Airoli will soon have the country’s first museum dedicated to marine mammals. The Mangrove Cell, which under the forest department will be implementing the project, will invite bids for the detailed design consultant by next month.
“The Airoli centre will be the first in the country to have a dedicated museum for marine mammals. We propose to complete it salong with another museum dedicated to turtles by the end of next year,” said N Vasudevan, the Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Mangrove Cell.
The cell would use Rs 10 crore to set up the two museums from its corpus funds, officials said. The museum will be constructed on the CMCB’s around 5-acre land in Airoli. Termed as the “Giants of the Sea Museum”, it will have skeletal structures of marine mammals and even sharks on display. The cell will display skeletal remains of the creatures that had washed ashore on the Maharashtra coast in the last couple of years.
This would include the Bryde’s whale that washed up at the Juhu beach, the sperm whale that washed onto the Sindhudurg coast apart from one or two species of dolphins and porpoises.
“When these marine creatures washed onto the shore, we buried them at the beach. After the body decomposes, we will take the skeleton out and preserve them for display in the museum. We plan to remove the Bryde’s whale that had washed onto Juhu beach last January by February 2018,” said Makarand Ghodke, Assistant Conservator of Forest (ACF), Mangrove Cell.
The museum will also have live fabricated models of these marine creatures to give an interactive experience. To add to the experience, an artificial water body will also be set up outside the museum. A library dedicated to marine creatures will cater to the research needs of the visitors.
Another museum dedicated to turtles will be set up at the centre and will be designed in the shape of a turtle.
The cell intends to increase awareness with regard to these creatures. “From an aerial view, it will look like a giant turtle sitting in the middle of the centre. It will be interactive at the same time educational with the idea of introducing the visitors to the marine world. The museum, which will have taxidermy models of turtles, will focus on its lifecycle with special focus on the five species of sea turtles that are found in India,” added Vasudevan.