A rotting “star attraction”
Islamabad- One of the main attraction at Museum of Natural History Islamabad, the Whale shark is decaying.
The odor is very much noticeable upfront, “The preserved animals do smell”, said Abdul Haydd the museum guide “not only do they smell bad but due to the strong preservative the skin also losses its original color” he further added.
Talking to Paper Crush on the matter, Chairman Department of Zoology at Arid Agriculture University Rawalpindi Dr. Mazhar Qayyum, commented that “Due to moisture, bacteria starts to grow on the body of the preserved animal due to which a distinct odor is felt”. He accepted that “Yes if it smells it is decaying however it is also true that the skin does loses its original color in the preservation process”
Dr. Mazhar further added that there is no chemical known which can infinitely take away moisture from the specimen, the animal should be maintained further, there should be proper ventilation to avoid contact with moisture “It should be put in a glass dome” he advised.
The Whale shark is on show in one of the upper stories of the museum, the Whale is surrounded by steel grill and open windows. The guide explained, “Usually the preserved animals are stuffed with plaster but because the whale is on the top floor the experts used the steel cage method”, in this method of preservation a steel replica of the animal’s skeleton is constructed, then covered by the preserved skin.
The whale was found on the shores of Karachi in 2012, later it was brought to Islamabad where with the help of UNECSO it was preserved, the process was completed in nine months.