A new display has been unveiled at Eton’s Natural History Museum. The display explores endangered species, aiming to help visitors better understand the importance of conservation and the threat of extinction faced by many animals worldwide.
The exhibition presents twelve specimens facing gradual levels of endangerment, clearly demonstrating that many species are threatened by human expansion and greed.
One such animal is the Gyr Falcon, which was collected in the 19th century by George Thackeray. Although it is classed as a species of ‘least concern’, it has faced threats in the past from pollution and pesticide use, and some fear that climate change will have increasingly adverse effects on this species.
An example of a Large Tooth Sawfish is also included in the display. It is considered to be a ‘critically endangered’ species, whose numbers have been thinned by the chemical pollution of freshwater and the usage of their meat in ‘shark fin’ soup.
The display also emphasises the negative consequences of ignoring conservation aims and programmes. The increase in zoonotic viruses spilling over into humans has been a recent reminder of this, exemplified in viral outbreaks such as HIV and Ebola.
We look forward to welcoming you to our new display when we can once again open the doors to the wonders of Eton’s Natural History Museum.
Exhibits like this are important in highlighting the role that museums have to play in the future. We are turning away from Victorian curiosity cabinets towards a design that maximises infographics and the visibility of key information. Exhibits on endangered species are particularly important as they educate the next generation of global leaders, who will need a thorough understanding of the environmental crises facing humanity in order to effectively combat them.Cosmo Le Breton, Secretary of the Environment Society