Welcome whale

Published: Friday 15 August 2008

Ozeaneum, an ambitious oceanography museum opened its doors to the public in the north-eastern German port town of Stralsund on July 12. It contains 39 huge fish tanks and seven life-size models of whales. Ozeaneum is an architecturally dramatic extension to the existing Oceanography Museum in Stralsund, a town on the Baltic Coast. It focuses, in particular, on the world's cold seas--the North Sea, the Baltic and the Atlantic.

"We don't even know about many species of creature in the deep oceans," said Harald Benke, director of the Oceanography Museum. The museum has original size models of whales, where visitors can get an idea of the scale of the ocean's gentle giants.

One display was paid for by Greenpeace, who invested us $ 1 million to create full-scale replicas of seven whale species."We want visitors to see exactly what we will lose if whales become extinct," said Thomas Henningsen, who heads the Greenpeace project. The museum representatives say the site contains the world's best library of whale books.

The museum is supposed to be self-supporting from now on, with at least 550,000 visitors annually needed to cover its running costs.

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