In 2015, the first ever record of a Sperm Whale in Singapore was made. While a fantastic scientific discovery, the whale had met a sad demise and was found floating, dead, cut up by a propeller and starved. The Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum set out on an endeavour to salvage the carcass, and preserve the bones as an historic icon of the region's vast natural world, while discovering more about how a whale made its way to the island state. In many countries it's possible to bury a 10.6 metre carcass and leave it to decompose, where the bones can later be dug up. Yet, in Singapore's ever changing landscape, it was impossible to find any area guaranteed for the necessary 3 years that would not be under risk of development. As such, Pocklington discusses her experience within the team who conducted the salvage and full, gruesome manual dissection of this beautiful creature of the deep, from shore to showcase.
Kate Pocklington is the Head Conservator of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum at National University Singapore. She studied fine art and graphic design, and later conservation and restoration at the University of Lincoln in the UK. Succeeding her graduations was her five-year ground work as natural history conservator in the Oxford University Museum of Natural History. Pocklington focuses on nature, societal change and the destructive (sometimes loving) human-nature parallels. This often creates a connection between her art and her career: preventing degradation, revitalising the past of science and nature, and looking behind and beyond. She currently has two active exhibitions in Singapore: Out of the Water which uses science to deconstruct and dissect global and local myths, and Buaya: The making of a non-myth, focusing on the Straits' ambivalent relationship with the native saltwater crocodile, where she also aims to reassess the species' population in Singapore.