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'Your Last Chance to See'

During Percy Powell-Cotton’s expeditions to Africa in the early 1900s he saw the early effects of humans on the world’s wild places and wild animals. In his book ‘In Unknown Africa’ he forecast that in the future some wildlife species might only be seen in museums like ours.

Wind the clock forward over 100 years and Powell-Cotton’s disturbing forecast is becoming a reality in our life-time, as our impact on the environment and wild animals is increasingly taking devastating hold. Sadly many iconic species of wildlife are now critically endangered and threatened with extinction.

The IUCN Red list of Threatened Species is an invaluable conservation resource, a health check for our planet – a Barometer of Life. It assesses the conservation status of over 70,000 plant and animal species globally, and plays a pivotal role in guiding the conservation actions of governments, NGOs and scientific institutions in the fight to save wildlife from extinction.

The IUCN Red List records a selection of the animals of the world whose populations are under threat. The status of the threats to each species we examined are described in increasing severity from vulnerable to extinct. These in turn are colour coded:
Yellow: vulnerable
Orange: endangered
Red: critically endangered
Purple: extinct in the wild
Black: extinct

Our exhibition graphically illustrates the plight of wildlife species that are endangered or critically endangered in the Powell-Cotton collection. It also highlights the reasons they are threatened with extinction so that, as the most destructive animal on earth, we may join hands together to conserve the wild.


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