After 11 long years, the Wild: Amazing animals in a changing world exhibition is closing.
The giant, enormous, enthralling and slightly creepy taxidermy room at the Melbourne Museum, which has won all Melburnians over, will be packed up, frozen and packed away forevermore after Sunday 25 April. (Featured image: Travis)
The news that the taxidermied animals, including Sad Otter, will be leaving us has taken many a Melburnian by surprise with plenty reaching out on social media to express their dismay, sadness and love for the exhibition which first opened way back in 2009.
Many are claiming that this is a wrong move by the museum, with plenty preferring the Children’s Gallery to get the chop instead. Although we don’t support that, we do understand that these taxidermied animals will be sorely missed—and also that the Children’s Gallery is often used as just a playground.
The display features birds, mammals and reptiles set on tiers against a stark white background and separated into sections for each continent. There are also interactive displays that allow visitors to learn about each animal’s habitat, the threats they face, and their vulnerability to extinction.
The animals on display, though, are also vulnerable. Speaking to The Age, senior science curator Kate Phillips explained that ”they’ve been fighting a really difficult battle because what happens with specimens that are on open display is they’re very vulnerable to getting infested with things like clothes moths.
“The insects actually eat the specimens, so the specimens gradually start to disintegrate … It’s been quite a challenge and we’ve had to remove a few specimens that have had quite bad infestations.”
We are sad to see Wild go but in its place, Melbourne Museum has scored the skeleton of an adult Triceratops horridus, including its skull and spin. The fossil is 87% complete and has been described as the Rosetta Stone of palaeontology.
Senior palaeontology curator Erich Fitzgerald has said, “this will be one of a handful of Triceratops skeletons on display around the world in which all bones, from the skull to the tip of the tail, are from one individual animal.” Read all about it here.
Does one incredibly old animal make up for the hundreds we will lose? Maybe, maybe not. Only time will tell, but we’re hoping that the taxidermied animals will once again see the light of day.
If you can’t make it to the museum to see Wild before it is taken off display, check out a virtual tour of the exhibition here.
For more information on Wild, see here.