Mumbai: At SGNP, Raja, Jimmy and Shobha back from the dead

SGNP taxidermy centre preserves bodies of Raja and Shobha, famous leopard and lioness from SGNP, and Jimmy, lioness from Byculla zoo

Considering the growing number of requests received by the Sanjay Gandhi National Park taxidermy centre from various forest departments across India, it can be asserted that the trend of preserving wild animals as taxidermy trophies is growing.

Also Read: SGNP mourns death of beloved leopard Raja

Abandoned by his mother, Raja was found near a tribal hamlet next to the Film City in 1992 and was handed over to the SGNP authorities
Abandoned by his mother, Raja was found near a tribal hamlet next to the Film City in 1992 and was handed over to the SGNP authorities

It has been learnt that the taxidermy department has successfully preserved the famous leopard and lioness — Raja and Shobha — from SGNP, Jimmy — the lioness from Byculla zoo — and a critically endangered Great Indian Bustard (GIB).

Read Story: Caretaker of Byculla zoo's lioness Jimmy devastated after her death

Jimmy will displayed at the upcoming Nature Interpretation Centre at the Byculla zoo
Jimmy will displayed at the upcoming Nature Interpretation Centre at the Byculla zoo

Official says
A senior officer said, “Shobha was one of the most famous lionesses among tourists visiting the SGNP for lion safari. Since none of us wants to forget her, we decided to preserve her body via taxidermy.”

He added that the preserved bodies of Shobha, Raja and another tiger (Shiva) would be kept at the soon-to-be-opened taxidermy gallery at SGNP.

Also Read: SGNP lions stare at a bleak future after Shobha's death

Dr Santosh Gaikwad, taxidermist and associate professor at the anatomy department, Bombay Veterinary College, said, “The trend of preserving wild animals after their death in the form of taxidermy trophies for educational and scientific studies is picking up. Various forest departments across India are approaching us for the same. Recently, officers from Uttarakhand forest department approached us with a request of preserving a porcupine. In the last three months, we completed the taxidermy work on Shobha and Jimmy.”

He added that Byculla zoo authorities have been informed in writing about Jimmy, whose preserved body will be kept on display at the upcoming Nature Interpretation Centre at the zoo.

Gaikwad also performed taxidermy on a male GIB that had died last year near GIB sanctuary in Nanaj. He has been working at the SGNP taxidermy centre since its inception in 2009.

What is taxidermy?
Taxidermy is the art of preparing, stuffing, and mounting the skins of animals (especially vertebrates) for display (hunting trophies or museum display) or for other sources of study (like species identification) or simply the preservation of a beloved pet. Taxidermy can be done on all vertebrate species of animals, including mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, and amphibians.

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