The natural science collection comprises around 16,000 mammal skeletons and skins (including almost 2,000 primate specimens) but also includes butterflies, insects, birds, and our collection of biological specimens stored in spirits which has recently been conserved.
At the time the Major was collecting, the animals were numerous and under less pressure in terms of conservation than today. He was not an indiscriminate hunter, but was concerned to preserve rare and representative species both to excite interest and for scientific study. He was a pioneer in the exhibition of the larger mammals against a representation of their natural habitat in dioramas.
There are representatives of almost every mammal from Africa including rarities such as Wolf, Ibex, Mountain Nyala, Giant Sable Antelope from Angola, Wild Ass and Hunter’s Hartebeest from Southern Somalia. These skeletons and skins, and those of many other species, are held by the Museum in good numbers with a cross-section of populations – male, female, young, old – giving excellent study samples. Larger collections of note include Duikers, Hartebeest, Bushbuck and Kudu. The skin collection also now forms an invaluable DNA bank for research and active conservation projects in the wild.