The art of taxidermy

TAXIDERMY is the art of preserving and mounting animal specimens. It is a combination of two Greek words – “taxis” and “derma” – which means skin arrangement. It is one of a museum’s special methods to preserve dead animals’ skin and mount it on artificial bodies to make it appear as lifelike as if it were in its natural habitat.

A taxidermist is required to understand the anatomy of the animals and be skilful in skinning, tanning, shaping, and sewing the skin that has been preserved. The preserved animals are useful for exhibition, education, research, and referencing.

Taxidermy work requires permits from the Wildlife and National Parks Department.

There are more than 75,800 specimens of floral, faunal and geological collections that are still kept by the Museums Department, with some dating back to as far as the 1890s.

Despite all efforts to set up a natural history museum since 1989, Malaysia has yet to establish such an institution, unlike neighbouring countries such Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam, says Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Nancy Shukri.

Nearly every nation in the world has a natural history museum to educate their societies on the variety of fauna and flora found in their respective countries. – May 9, 2022.

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