Discover our captivating natural history and world geology collections in the World Wildlife Gallery. From zoology to ecology, immerse yourself in treasures from every continent for a real life lesson in conservation, observation and identification, as well as marvelling in the sheer beauty of our fragile natural world.
The African section includes animals such as a lion, aardvark, springbok and a great flamingo that was donated in 1860, making it one of the oldest specimens in our natural history collection. Asia is the largest of the continents and the specimens here reflect the vast differences in the habitats available, from the orang-utan of the rainforests to the peacock of the lowlands.
The Arctic section includes a musk ox, snowy owls and our best known exhibit – the polar bear. It’s a fully grown adult bear which came to the museum in 1947, from Lowther Castle, where it had been part of the Earl of Lonsdale’s collection. The South American case contains mainly rainforest animals, including a three-toed sloth and an armadillo. There are also several exotic birds including toucans and a quetzal.
Most of the animals in the Australian section are marsupials, such as the red kangaroo. Also on display is a spiny anteater and a duck billed platypus. Perhaps the most important animal in the gallery is displayed in this section – the Tasmanian wolf, also known as a thylacine. This is a very rare specimen, as there are fewer than twelve in the country. It is thought that the Tasmanian wolf is extinct as there have been no confirmed sightings for about sixty years.
On display in the European case is a great bustard, which became extinct in England in the early 19th century (but has since been successfully re-introduced into Wiltshire recently). Other animals on display in this section include the otter, badger, waxwing and spoonbill.
The collection also features a beautiful endangered species display which includes a reconstruction of a dodo, made by bird taxidermist Carl Church for The Great Dodo Exhibition in 2013. The antique taxidermy collections in the World Wildlife Gallery came from Edgar and Major Cooper. Both were military officers who hunted whilst stationed abroad on active service.
Highlighting the conservation issues we face today, the World Wildlife Gallery offers a vibrant introduction to a variety of animals, birds and insects and their natural environments around the world.
The Bird Collection
The Museum’s bird collection is made up of an impressive 1681 specimens, many of which date from the nineteenth century. The meticulous project to identify and catalogue every single specimen of bird at Kendal Museum took almost ten years to complete, with the majority of the work undertaken by volunteer Judith Robinson.
The fully catalogued collection includes a note of 2017 IUCN status, which shows that there are more than ten specimens of birds on the red list as being endangered or critically endangered and many more classed as vulnerable or near-threatened. There are also specimens of the extinct Huia from New Zealand and the possibly extinct Eskimo Curlew and the Ecuadorian Turquoise-throated Puffleg hummingbird.
Download the full catalogue here.
Download the full mammal catalogue here.
Download the full amphibian and reptile catalogue here.
Download the full fish catalogue here.