Since its origins in the 18th century, the Natural History Museum Basel has repeatedly gathered examples on its expeditions of animal species that have since disappeared from the natural world. Thanks to the correct storage of the collection objects in our 'Archives of Life', it is possible to include in our permanent exhibitions original examples of species that are either completely extinct today or under severe threat of extinction.
The exhibition demonstrates why many animal species that populated our planet for many centuries have died out over the last 400 years. The clear differences are apparent between natural species extinction and that caused by mankind.
Quagga & Dodo, however, also looks at the efforts of organisations that are committed to species protection.
In addition to many threatened species, we also showcase preparations of over twenty species that are already extinct. This includes the quagga, a kind of zebra, which was still common in southern Africa at the start of the 19th century. The quagga was wiped out because it was regarded as a competitor to cattle farmers. Today there are only 24 specimens of this type of animal worldwide. They are distributed in museums around the world. The dodo, a flightless kind of bird which only lived on the island of Mauritius, can also unfortunately only be seen as a partial specimen or reconstruction in museums. It died out in the late 17th century.
The exhibition's design picks up on the idea of the collection rooms being the 'Archives of Life'.