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September 14, 2018

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Nature lover gives it all away

MORE than a decade ago, natural history enthusiast Dong Dayong began traveling the world, collecting wildlife specimens.

Yesterday, Dong donated nine items from his treasured collection to Shanghai Natural History Museum, having already donated one last year.

Among them, perhaps the most eye-catching was the skin of a 1.9-meter steppe wolf, bought from an old Russian hunter in 2005 at a cost of several hundred dollars.

The pelt was slightly damaged, having hung on Dong’s wall for many years.

Dong said he is very fond of animals and loves watching nature documentaries, but had little idea how to care for his collection. Besides the wolf fur, his donations include a crocodile head, a moose antler and the foot of a wild boar.

The head of a fish underwent similar experience to the wolf skin. “When it first came to me, it had a layer of varnish and looked like a work of art with a pearly luster,” he said. But without maintenance, it corroded both inside and out.

Dong had a stuffed squirrel which should have gone to the museum as well, but the inner parts had been eaten by worms and some of its hair was lost.

That made up his mind to give his whole collection to the museum as soon as possible so it could be properly taken care and more people could enjoy it.

According to the museum’s Zhang Tangming, they will sterilize the specimens before giving them to the storeroom or researchers for further study or display.

The museum has nearly 290,000 items in its collection. Zhang Yunfei of the natural history research center, said donations should meet two principles: the object should be genuine and have research, exhibition or educational value.


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