Frequently Asked Questions

“Our task must be to free ourselves…by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty.” ~Albert Einstein

Are the animals real?
The animals on display are the real skin, fur, and feathers, glued over a hollow body-shaped form. Most forms are made of fiberglass or foam. Some of the fish are replicas made of plastic, fiberglass, or other materials. Using real animals allows you to see the most accurate and life-like representation of wildlife, and to see them much closer than in the wild.
Where did the animals come from?

Nearly all the animals in the exhibit were donated by the Mason Wildlife Foundation. National wildlife agencies administered licenses and permits of obtain the species that were collected over a lifetime. The majority of the fees for collection went for habitat protection, anti-poaching, and other efforts to preserve wildlife populations. No animal was collected specifically for this exhibit.

Why does the exhibit display animals?

The two most important reasons are for education and for research. Wildlife exhibits teach about animals, increase awareness of ecological issues, and foster support for the preservation of threatened and endangered species. This collection can also be used for research concerning evolution, classification, form and function, and conservation. 

How does the exhibit help wildlife?

All living things are members of ecological systems. If we learn how these ecosystems work then we can provide better protection. This collections, like other natural history museum collections, are a organized and protected resource that scientists can work with to increase our collective knowledge. To know about wild animals is to care about animals. 

Does the exhibit still accept animal donations?

Due to space restriction, the exhibit is not accepting animals at this time. Thank you very much for asking. 

Why can't I touch the animals?

Fingerprint residue will dull and destroy the specimens, even light touches can pull hairs out of the taxidermy. Also the chemicals used to clean them may be harmful. There are a number of “touch me” items marked throughout. 

What other museums are there on campus?

In addition to the Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art you can visit the Geology Museum which has exhibits of meteorites, rock minerals and fossils or the Anthropology Museum collects artifacts of all kinds from around the world.   

Hunting and Conservation

With the support of the hunting and shooting sports industries, the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act was passed in 1937 and placed a special excise tax
on firearms and ammunition to be shared among state wildlife agencies for the exclusive purpose of supporting conservation efforts. Since the program began, hunters have contributed over $7.2 billion to state conservation efforts. Given current levels of firearm and ammunition sales, hunters now contribute over $371 million annually.

But the funding doesn’t end here. Add in the $796 million spent on license and permit sales, which go directly to the hunter’s respective state wildlife agency, and the $440 million in annual donations directly to conservation and sportsmen’s organizations, hunters contribute over $1.6 billion annually to conservation. Hunting is without peer when it comes to funding the perpetuation and conservation of wildlife and natural habitats.

Follow the timeline for Conservation of wildlife in the US.