WHY DOES THE INTERNATIONAL WILDLIFE MUSEUM HAVE ANIMAL EXHIBITS?  

and other questions . . . . .

ARE THE ANIMALS REAL?

The mammals on display have real skin and fur glued over a body-shaped form.

WHY ARE THERE REAL ANIMALS IN THE EXHIBITS?

Visitors can see the most accurate and life-like representations of wildlife, closer than is usually possible. The museum also uses replicas; however, they are expensive and may not look as realistic.

WHERE DID THE ANIMALS COME FROM?

All animals in the exhibits were obtained from government wildlife agencies, old collections, wildlife rehabilitation centers, zoos, and individuals. Some collections are 100 years old.

WHY DOES THE MUSEUM DISPLAY ANIMALS?

Education and research. Wildlife exhibits teach about animals, increase awareness of ecological issues, and foster support for the preservation of threatened and endangered species. Museum collections are used for research related to evolution, classification, form and function, and conservation.

HOW DO MUSEUM COLLECTIONS HELP RESEARCH AND CONSERVATION?

Animals can be compared to older specimens to analyze changes in the development of species or subspecies through time or in comparing specimens from different geographic locations. Hair or other animal parts can be analyzed to determine genetic changes or effects of pollution. By studying old collections of endangered or extinct animals, scientists can learn their ecological requirements and identify factors that threaten existing populations. Such information supports arguments for wildlife reserves and conservation strategies.

WHAT UNUSUAL COLLECTIONS DOES THE MUSEUM HAVE?

One historic assemblage is the International Heads and Horns, deeded to the museum by the New York Zoological Society or Bronx Zoo. This 1920s collection contains horns and antlers from hoofed mammals from around the world. The Burnham-Eagle-Macomber collection is on loan from the State of Arizona. Assembled during natural history explorations 100 years ago, this priceless collection contains such rarities as birds of paradise, the endangered kiwi and panda, and the extinct passenger pigeon. Several penguins were donated to the museum from Admiral Byrd's Antarctic expeditions. A spectacular arthropod collection features 700 insects, spiders and scorpions from around the world.

DOES THE MUSEUM STILL ACCEPT ANIMALS?

Yes, the museum accepts species of particular educational value.

DO MUSEUMS CAUSE SPECIES TO BECOME THREATENED OR ENDANGERED?

No. The International Wildlife Museum does not collect nor does it issue directives to collect animals. Habitat destruction is responsible for the vast majority of endangered species today. Introduction of non-native species, particularly on islands, has endangered or exterminated many animals. Illegal poaching threatens some wildlife, especially in Africa and Asia. Regulated hunting has never threatened any species.

WHY ARE THREATENED AND ENDANGERED SPECIES ON EXHIBIT?

Almost all of the animals on display were collected by outside sources when they were common species in their part of the world. They were collected at a time when attitudes towards the environment were different from today. Now these animals serve education and can foster concern to protect wildlife.

MUSEUMS CAN HELP WILDLIFE

Natural history museums contain hundreds of specimens gathered over the years. These collections are a library of nature; organized and protected so scientists can work with the objects to increase our collective knowledge.

All living things are members of ecological systems. If we can learn how these ecosystems work, then we are less likely to mess them up.

To know something can mean understanding it and caring about it. Museums can foster our concern for other living things and our knowledge of their biological roles. Then perhaps we will save places on this planet for our wild heritage.