The word taxidermy usually conjures up thoughts of dusty museum halls or memories of that large elk head in the local VFW. But taxidermy has had an interesting new resurgence with a younger generation. Young, educated professionals are being drawn to taxidermy and are interested in a more sustainable practice of the ancient craft. “Ethical Taxidermy,” as it’s called, is a more humane way to discover the animal world.
What makes it ethical? Ethical taxidermy is when the specimens used are not killed for the purposes of taxidermy. Generally, the animals have died of natural or accidental causes. Also, many ethical taxidermists use the entire animal. Taxidermy is more eco-friendly than you would think. Ethical taxidermists use non-toxic chemicals that won’t hurt the environment. No formaldehyde here!
So what’s with this rebirth of taxidermy? Making and doing things by hand is popular with millennials. From knitting to farming to woodworking and everything in between, this generation is putting a sustainable twist to old techniques. And it doesn’t hurt that being a science nerd is in vogue.
Some maybe a little squeamish at the process of taxidermy, but it can be admired for its scientific and artistic qualities. Taxidermists have to be well versed in the anatomy and physiology of many different species. Also, they are responsible for restoring museum displays and extracting DNA from endangered or extinct species. Taxidermists are also talented artists and need to make their subject accurate and visually appealing. If you want to learn more about young people in the taxidermy industry, check out:
Mickey Alice Kwapis at www.mickeyalicekwapis.com
Allis Markham at www.preytaxidermy.com
How We Science is moderated and edited by the staff of the Natural Resources Trust of Easton.