This trend means a growing number of taxidermists are providing animals and birds for sale around the world, including in auction houses, collectables markets and online. While many are advertised as Victorian, how do you prove that, as it is so easy to fake the provenance; and for most of the items there is no paperwork.
As an example, people love flamingos, and all 5 species of flamingos are listed for trade restrictions by the global regulator. Stuffed flamingos sell for between US$4,000 and US$10,000 on the European market; and some even have a much higher price tag.
When you take a look at these birds, together with the assortment of other endangered and exotic birds and animals – most look perfect. Do the interior designers and consumers ask themselves what sort of life these birds and animals had, before they reached ‘peak plumage’ and perfect adult condition?
With not a feather out of place, not a scar, they certainly didn’t live to a ripe old age and die of natural causes, and they weren’t roadkill. A survey of taxidermist websites confirm they state that these birds and animals come from a ‘network of breeders, zoos and animal sanctuaries’; but this industry means it is often difficult to trace the lives of these animals or know much about the conditions in which they live. And, while many websites talk about providing the necessary documentation, because they are working with endangered species, currently there is no real supply chain transparency in this global trade.