Menu
Blog about animals
Selected the best cow in Germany
Fishing ban proposed near Rockall after rare scientific finds
Life and death on the riverbank
Baboon shot dead after escaping from Knowsley Safari Park
Birdwatch: Peregrine falcon
Iceland's fin whales are endangered. Stop this bloody cull
The pitfalls of elderly dog insurance
Valley where Edward Carpenter, gay rights campaigner and socialist, walked
Green groups warn government of national parks hunting backlash
Demand for ivory destabilising central Africa
Dog walker found neighbour trampled by cows, inquest hears
Cat stands for election in Mexican city
I hear some hip cat's running for mayor in Mexico. That gives me an idea
Wader chick fever grips birds and spotters alike
Philippines destroys five tonnes of elephant tusks
The Dwyfor is surely one of the loveliest of Welsh rivers
New to nature No 107: Typhochlaena costae
How to beat the midges this summer
Controversial herring gull cull gets green light
Whaling's day in court is a sea change for conservation
Australia censures Japan for 'scientific' whaling
The young red deer stags were on their hind legs boxing, just like hares
Our garden's blackbirds started their nest-building early this year
UK wildlife and nature hit hard by erratic weather
  Lifelike after death: the intricacies of a taxidermist's craft
The oldest surviving French creature died on 1 December 2009 at the menagerie in the Jardin des Plantes in Paris. Kiki, a male Seychelles giant tortoise (Dipsochelys elephantina), was 146. He arrived in 1923, hailing from Mauritius. He would spend winter in the warmth of the reptile house, moving on to the lawn outside in summer. Weighing 250kg, he used to travel in a wheelbarrow, more recently on a fork-lift.

On 19 June he started a new life in the Grande Galerie de l'Evolution, where a 100 sq metre space has been set aside to tell his story. His resurrection took more than three years' patient work by Christophe Voisin, one of the natural history museum's four taxidermists.

The week after Kiki's death, Voisin received a phone call from his boss Christophe Gottini. "'You're going to do a tortoise', he said and then turned up with it on a cart," Voisin recalls. "I had to think fast. It was only my second tortoise, after another species from Aldabra Atoll which weighed 150kg. There was no room for mistakes: it's the world's oldest-known specimen."

Having removed the skin with a scalpel, he started on the carapace itself, which is more than 10cm thick in places, first with a jigsaw, then finally with a bone saw. Once he had opened the breast-plate he could take off the shell, remove the organs and strip the feet, turning the skin inside out like a glove to remove the bones. As an exceptional measure this process was supervised by a vet, Norin Chai, who did an autopsy at the same time. Usually, dead inmates are taken to the veterinary lab for a post-mortem, to obtain a death certificate. But in view of Kiki's extreme age this hardly seemed necessary.

Once the biological waste had been sent to the incinerator, Kiki's remains only weighed 80kg. Voisin started a race against time and the onset of bacteria. He had to scrape the hide and the inside of the shell, working on it for three days solid. "Reptiles don't smell too good when they're alive, but when they're dead it's horrific," he complains. Then he applied alum salt to tan the hide, which stiffens as it dries. "It was hard as a stone," he says. At this point he had to decide on the animal's posture. Not having the skeleton of the animals he preserves, he builds a complete structure to maintain the right shape and posture.

Take Major, for instance, an orangutan that died at the age of 50. He welcomes visitors at the entrance to the hall, swinging from a branch for all eternity ... or almost. "There isn't a single bone in his body, not even a finger bone," Voisin explains. As he cannot leave any bones, he takes rough moulds of them to avoid making mistakes with the joints, which might affect the way the animal moves. "After all the aim is for the end result to look as natural as possible!"

In the case of Kiki, he strengthened the feet slightly with wire then padded them out with sterile wood-fibre. This technique, which he learnt from his first supervisor, Edgard Gros, allows him to change the posture in the course of assembly. His next boss, Jack Thiney, would sculpt the whole beast out of polystyrene, then dress the statue with the hide. He was an artist, a quality Voisin will not accept for himself, claiming to be "at best" a craftsman. "Sculpture is not my thing," he admits. "I was contaminated by old Edgard."

Once this stage of the project was complete he left it to dry out, a process that sometimes takes as much as two years. A bloom formed on the outside, showing that the salt had cured all the way through. Crusts, which he had to remove with a wire brush, appeared on Kiki's neck. He also had to dye part of the hide, discoloured by the alum, air-brushing it with extra-dark acrylic paint. He varnished the shell too. As it dried it took on a "dry, unrealistic" appearance, whereas he wanted it to look "wet but not glossy". Finally he added black glass eyeballs, which he found in a chest of drawers containing glass eyes for all sorts of animals.

Voisin joined the osteology and taxidermy department 11 years ago, arriving there by an unusual route. "Even as a child I wanted to work with wild animals. That idea guided all the decisions I made at school and afterwards," he explains. He started at Vincennes zoo, a subsidiary of the museum, working as an acrobat, then moved to the lion house. But there tragedy struck. One day he watched, powerless, as a lion attacked his best friend, who died of his injuries. Shortly afterwards he picked up a graphic novel on taxidermy in a second-hand bookstore. He practised on rats on the kitchen table at home, then applied for a transfer to the taxidermy department, starting as a trainee. Gros put him "through hell for a year". Nothing was good enough. "One day, as I was handing over a piece of work, he said: 'That's fine. If you need me, you know where I am," Voisin recalls. "That day I realised I'd completed an important stage, but it was only the first."

"It takes 10 years to become a taxidermist. You have to master anatomy, drawing, sculpture and animal behaviour," he explains. Kiki is the first of his works to qualify for a place in the evolution gallery. When next he passes by, he will have good reason to remember the advice Thiney repeated endlessly: "Think big, if you want to do something well."
'Wild' animals in travelling circuses benefit no one
The intoxicated world of the spotted flycatcher
Fishing quotas can be redistributed to favour smaller vessels high court
Madagascar battling worst locust plague since 1950s
A broody sparrow meets his match
Climate change is happening too quickly for species to adapt
The weird and wonderful world of the naked mole rat
Australian woman seriously injured during Spanish bull run
Spain's endangered Iberian lynx brought back from brink of extinction
One man and his sniffer dog help tackle Germany's hidden drug problem
The hotel that only takes dogs
T rex tooth found embedded in prey, restoring dinosaur's reputation
Bog cotton covers the summer Peak District moors in snow
Lifelike after death: the intricacies of a taxidermist's craft
The six-spot burnet moths complete their transformation
Research on animals in UK rises by 8% to exceed 4m procedures
Animal testing it's time to talk about it again
A pair of lithe animals are tumbling across the grass within feet of me
New to nature no 109: Anochetus hohenbergiae
England's ceremonial mayors eschew fur to support animal rights
Birdwatch: Corn bunting
Madrid declares war on plague of raccoon and parrot invaders
Snow leopards and wild yaks becoming 'fashion victims'
Horn seizure prompts rhinos warning
Threatened seabirds 'neglected' in plans for Scottish marine protected areas
Los Angeles campgrounds closed after plague-infected squirrel found
Only when I look down at the last second do I see it. I recoil instinctively
China's wine boom of little profit to giant pandas and small farmers
Menu
Let's not martyr the white-throated needletail to the anti-wind cause
Grasshopper breeder up for design award and educating western palates
Spanish national park could lose Unesco status over illegal boreholes
Dog mauls boy at primary school in Northern Ireland
Our dog walks are punctuated by the corn bunting's jingling ringtone
End in sight for painful branding of semi-wild moorland ponies
New to nature No 108: Carlia decora
Penguins support gorillas as biscuit makers respond to palm oil threat
Measuring carbon age in ivory could help combat poaching, study shows
How to survive a seagull attack
A walk by the river triggers memories of a bygone age
Whales flee from military sonar leading to mass strandings, research shows
Down among the grass stems, a ball of recently hatched orb-web spiderlings
Owen Paterson vows to rid England of bovine TB with badger culls
Gassing of badgers considered in plan to eradicate TB in cattle
Visitors to the Pamplona bull run have blood on their hands
Bats: they've never had it so good
These dew ponds have been on the Downs possibly since medieval times
Australian bushman claims to have footage of legendary night parrot
Secret badger shoots pose 'a risk to public safety'
Cheshire police seize dog believed to have killed Pomeranian
Whale watching season is back - but how close is too close?
Plan to ban wild animals in travelling circuses 'goes too far'
Morrissey donates Channel 4 payout to Peta campaign against foie gras
Visit Statistics
http://google.com/

http://bing.com/

https://gepatit-info.top/

https://serdechnic.com/

https://buy-meds24.com/

https://dverirespekt.ru/

https://www.sribno.net/

https://undergroundcityphoto.com/

https://detskiezabolevaniya.com/

http://grafaman.ru/

http://innoslicon.com/html/product/index.htm

https://yginekologa.com/

https://yes-com.com/

https://www.baikaleminer.com/

https://bitmaein.com/shop

https://www.artdeko.info/

https://aerodizain.com/

http://xn--d1abj0abs9d.in.ua/

http://lider82.ru/

http://sta-grand.ru/

http://snabs.kz/

https://sky-mine.ru/

https://rybalka-opt.ru/

http://snegozaderzhatel.ru/

https://xn--e1aaajzchnkg.ru.com/

http://hit-kino.ru/

http://www.regionshop.biz/

https://xn--80aaafbn2bc2ahdfrfkln6l.xn--p1ai/

https://pp-budpostach.com.ua/

https://vykup-avto-krasnodar.ru/

https://gcup.ru/

https://mega-polis.biz.ua/

http://vanrise.com.ua/

http://infra-e.ru/

https://veterinariya.com/

https://ponosanet.com/

https://cariestop.com/

https://proartrit.com/

https://elonm.ru/

https://nakozhe.com/

https://spinanebolit.com/

http://zameskino.ru/

http://kinoprinc.ru/

http://pospektr.ru/

http://buypillsonline24h.com/

http://komputers-best.ru/

https://komp-pomosch.ru/