Raj Bhavan, the Maharashtra Governor’s official residence, is known for the several peacocks and peahens staying in its large campus. Nearly 15 of the captivating animals are known to make it their home. So, when one of them passed away, the governor wished to preserve its memory in form of a display. That is why he sent the bird to the Wildlife Taxidermy Centre (WTC) at Sanjay Gandhi National Park.
Peacocks are an important attraction of Raj Bhavan and the bird, which had died a natural death, was sent to the taxidermy centre at Sanjay Gandhi National Park
Taxidermy is the art and process of mounting or reproducing animals for display. The bird, which passed away on June 14, was about 7 feet long and will be displayed at Raj Bhavan once the centre returns it. Dr Santosh Gaikwad, the taxidermist at WTC and an associate professor of the anatomy department at the Bombay Veterinary College in Parel, told mid-day, “On June 14, a full-grown male peacock died a natural death at the Raj Bhavan.
Governor K Sankaranarayanan is very fond of animals and birds, and in order to preserve the peacock after its death, the bird was sent to the taxidermy centre at SGNP. The work is almost complete and we are giving it final touches. Once it is complete, we will send it back so it can be kept at Raj Bhavan.”
The procedure is in its final stage and was done in three weeks. According to Gaikwad, the bird would be ready for display when it is sent back. This is the second peacock from Raj Bhavan to undergo taxidermy. Dr Gaikwad had also worked on the earlier bird. Over a year back, the governor had felicitated Dr Gaikwad for preserving the peacock using modern scientific methods.
How it is done
The word taxidermy is Greek for ‘moving skin’. The skin of a dead animal is removed, tanned and treated. The carcass is then moulded in plaster and this mould is used to produce a cast of the animal. Glass eyes and artificial teeth are then added to the display. This art has been popular in India since the British Era.
Other birds preserved by WTC
The Wildlife Taxidermy Centre has been instrumental in performing taxidermy on more than 100 animals and birds. The birds include peacocks, sea gulls, pond herons, night herons, white-breasted water hens, ring neck parakeets, barn owls, kites (black and spotted), fish eagles, kingfishers, Great Indian Bustards (also called Maldhok), golden orioles, pittas, crows (jungle and house varieties), crow pheasants, green pigeon, cormorants, sparrows, rosy pelicans and flamingoes