Journal Article

  • Cleaning, packing and moving a 115 year old taxidermied adult male orang-utan, stuck in a very fragile old nest of leaves in a tree with other nests
    Larkin, N. R.
    Journal of Natural Science Collections, Volume 3, pages 38 - 42

    For many years the Cambridge University Museum of Zoology has had on display a taxidermy specimen of an adult male orangutan sitting on a ‘nest’ it had made. This was still situated within the original branches and these also held two other orangutan nests. The orangutan, branches and nests were at least 115 years old, making the leaves, twigs and branch-es very fragile indeed. Unfortunately, as part of a major refurbishment project, the specimen unavoidably had to be cleaned, packed-up and moved into temporary accommodation else-where on site. The cleaning of the fragile nests had to involve as little contact as possible so as not to damage the leaves or interfere with their arrangement, and precautions had to be taken in case the specimen had been treated with pesticides historically. The orangutan, branches and fragile nests all had to be packed securely so that they would not get dam-aged when decanted to the new store. No advice was found in existing literature so suitable methods were devised including: the use of a ‘puffer’ camera lens cleaner to blow dust off the specimens; wrapping the nests in acid-free tissue and Tyvek; and holding the branches and orangutan in place with batons lined appropriately with Plastazote foam and secured to the sides of a bespoke wooden crate.

    Keywords: Orangutan; Taxidermy; Conservation; Cleaning; Packing; Moving