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Saturday, January 23, 2010
Call of the Wild
Maybe it is the after-effect of reading 'Colours' and realising how little I know about the natural world but this week I have been curiously attracted to finding out more about the animal kingdom. I've been reading Gerald Durrell's charming 'My Family and Other Animals' and earlier in the week we went to see Museum Victoria's new permanent exhibition, 'Wild: Amazing Animals in a Changing World'. Talk about bio-diversity! Over 170 mammals, reptiles and birds from all over the world all displayed from floor to ceiling in one big room.
The exhibition works on a number of levels the most obvious being scale. This mass display of animals does more than any book or television show ever could to give you a real-life sense of scale. Where else are you going to see a yak next to a bear next to a wolf next to a squirrel? There is also a certain poignancy about the exhibition with each animal labelled as extinct, endangered, vulnerable, or secure. For me the most powerful examples of this were the now extinct Tasmanian Tiger so beautifully preserved and the Thai dwarf (?) rhinoceros which has been in the museum's collection since 1884. There are now only 50 known adults in the wild. If you get the chance go and see it and be amazed.