However, we looked at this as a challenge, as there is still one area where there is crossover between museum conservation and nature conservation: Extinction. Here we are a vitally important part in the preservation of humanity’s knowledge of the species of the world.
For endangered and extinct species, a museum is the only place you are likely to see such an animal, other than perhaps in films or on television. Well recorded and maintained collections of species within museums are a key ingredient for scientific researchers to describe anatomy and features of species in the scientific discipline of taxonomy.
Taxonomy, the classification of organisms, is important as without knowing what unique species are present out there in nature, you can’t protect them.
One of the few places that scientific researchers can study the anatomy and features of extinct species is in museum collections, rather than collecting more specimens of rare or endangered species.
This is where conservation meets Conservation.
As such, the Natural Sciences collections within museums are vitally important for humanity’s knowledge of the species of the world and our efforts to conserve them. And we urgently need to protect nature because extinction rates are catastrophically on the rise.
Image caption: Huia (Heteralocha acutirostris) conservation status extinct. Acquired by Auckland Museum 1962.