A world record-breaking whale is set to arrive in Harrogate as this summer's Sea Creatures exhibition travels around Europe.
In May 2009, the Minke whale, known as 'Hai Hai', became beached and died on Jiaoliu Island in China, where a team from the Dalian Hoffen Bio-Technique Company rushed to recover the body.
Hai Hai - which means 'Sea Sea' in Chinese - is 6.2 metres in length, over 3 metres tall and has a chest circumference of more than 2.5 metres.
But now, Hai Hai's body is set to visited by crowds from all over Yorkshire as the Sea Creatures exhibition comes to Harrogate's Convention Centre in October and November.
Sea Creatures founder, Naz Kabir, says: “We’ve already had an incredible response since tickets went on sale for this year’s tour, but we always said that adding Hai Hai to the exhibition would be the icing on the cake.
“Having a double world record-breaking exhibit that visitors would be able to see for the first time on this continent is incredibly exciting - Hai Hai is a celebrity in the science and marine education world, and we’re delighted to be able to bring her to the UK this summer.”
Hai Hai is the first whale ever to be preserved showing its internal anatomy, making it an incredibly important landmark for marine education.
Weighing in at three tonnes, the operation to preserve and plastinate the specimen took 23 months.
It was then donated to a team of 35 professional anatomists who spent a staggering 50,382 man hours undertaking millions of surgical slices into the specimen to allow the plastination process to work.
Hai Hai will be the centrepiece for the Sea Creatures exhibition, which visits London, Yorkshire, Northern Ireland and Scotland this year.
Organisers had already secured over 50 full-animal exhibits as part of the tour, but had been negotiating to bring Hai Hai to Europe for the first time.
Sea Creatures opens in London’s RHS Lawrence Hall in July before visiting Harrogate from October 30 to November 28.
Book your tickets here.