Plans proposed by the Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau (IACM) to preserve the body of Bobo, the city’s beloved Asiatic black bear who died on Tuesday morning, have drawn considerable controversy among the local public, with a poster saying no to taxidermy to “respect” the ursine circulating online.
IACM said in a statement Wednesday that the bureau was saddened by Bobo’s death, adding that it has set aside a memorial area in front of the bear’s enclosure in Flora Garden.
“Having looked at neighbouring regions’ experience in popularising science, and as the IACM is planning to have a museum to display animal specimens, therefore there is a plan to turn Bobo’s corpse into a specimen to continue the important message, built together between Bobo and the general public, of animal preservation and protection,” the statement said, adding that the specimen would be displayed in the historical context of the animal world and human society.
“It will allow visitors to see how a good relationship the animal once had with people. [Bobo] can continue to have an impact on education for the next generations on caring and protecting nature.
The statement said that a specimen hall would be located in Coloane and that construction of the hall was expected to start next year.
In response to the different opinions on turning Bobo’s body into a specimen, the statement said that the bureau understood the public’s grieving for Bobo’s recent death, but taxidermy would be one way of letting the public remember Bobo, as well as promote the message of animal protection, and the specimen would be very meaningful for science research and popularising science.
The statement pointed out that from donations by residents, customs confiscations and the natural death of animals which lived in the city’s parks, the bureau has so far collected over 380 animal specimens, among them rare species such as masked palm civet, pangolin, horseshoe crab, Chinese white dolphin and finless porpoise.
A vociferous campaign has been launched on social media to stop the bureau’s preservation plans, claiming that taxidermy would not “respect” Bobo and not allow him to rest in peace.