THE skull of the first ever fin whale to be recorded dead or alive in Dorset is helping to raise awareness about the decline of marine giants.

Dorset Wildlife Trust is now using the skull, found in 2012, to educate adults and children about endangered marine giants and raise awareness of the importance of marine conservation zones along the Dorset coast.

DWT marine awareness officer Julie Hatcher, who helped recover the fin whale, said: “The exhibition is an unique way of learning more about fin whales and what more we can do to protect them.

“Even though our skull is that of a juvenile, its body was still nearly 14 metres in length which helps put into perspective just how big these animals are.”

She added: “After receiving permission from relevant authorities, such as DEFRA, we carried out the task to remove what was left of the skull from the shoreline.

“Due to its exceptional size and weight, it required a carefully planned operation, a boat and four people to transport it.

“Whilst it’s exciting that we can still see marine giants such as whales and dolphins here in Dorset, there was a time when they were much more common.

“We believe that we could get back more of these big marine animals by protecting their important feeding and nursery grounds through a national network of marine conservation zones.”

The giant skull, which is now part of a display at the Fine Foundation Marine Centre, Kimmeridge, belongs to a juvenile fin whale washed up on shore in the Purbeck Marine Wildlife Reserve back in October, 2012.