Museum of Veterinary Faculty in Sarajevo: Empire of Skeletons and Taxidermied Animals

Muzej Veterinarskog fakulteta FOTO: JASMIN BRUTUS

The Anatomical Museum of the Department of Anatomy and Histology of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in Sarajevo is a unique place in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the region. Here you can learn a lot about the animal world, and all those who visit it will be richer for one new and exceptional experience. The doors of the museum are open to all visitors, and the entrance is free.

The head of the Department of Anatomy and Histology of this faculty, Rizah Avdić, says that mostly students from secondary schools, from all over Bosnia and Herzegovina, come.

Development of the museum

The museum will celebrate its 70th anniversary next year, just like the Veterinary Faculty. Avdić says that the faculty began operating in 1949 and that its development followed development of this museum. As we pass through the museum and look at the exhibits, Professor Avdić explains that museum is exceptional because it provides practicle learning to students of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine.

– It’s an immense advantage when students can take an exhibit in their hands during exercise and see how it really looks. Our students, thanks to the museum, are not only learning from books and photographs from other faculties – he says.

According to him, every item in the museum has some story.

-The majority of the skeletons of wild and exotic animals are from Pionirska Dolina (Zoo Center), while the smaller part arrived here in some other way. There is, for example, a skeleton of an English horse that was on a hippodrome in Butmir. During a race in one curve he fell and broke his spine and ribs and we could not save him. Since this skeleton is extremely difficult to reach, we decided to leave it in the museum – Avdić says.

At the stage of preparation, there is currently a bear who spent his life at a zoo.

-He died, and on his skeleton, huge changes occurred due to long-term indoor life. At first glance it can be seen that the pelvis and bone fracture grew up and that he had great pain during his life in the cage, he says.

Visitors can see the taxidermied lynx killed by poachers, a few years ago, in a village near Fojnica, a Bengali tiger who was once a pet on a private property in Vitez, mouflon, suede, monkeys, ostrich, dogs, horses, turtles or snakes.

The public is familiar with the story of a lioness from the Zoo, which was imported from Bulgaria and after a certain period died in the quarantine of Escherichia Coli.

– We were sorry to not use her skin and skeleton for the museum, because this is a special animal species that is worth preserving – Avdić says.

Digitization of items

According to him, each item takes three to six months to be prepared, and the process involves a lot of patience and precise work. In the overall process, a degreasing apparatus plays an important role, and the only such machine is owned by a Veterinary Faculty Sarajevo. According to Professor Avdić, without this apparatus for preparation of skeletal exhibits it would be much more difficult.

-Machine removes grease from the bones and leaves them completely clean after this process, ready to use and without residual fat – he explains.

Asked about the current composition of the museum, Professor Avdić said that there were more than 800 of them.

– I stopped counting after 680 item, and that was a long time ago. So I can say with certainty that there are more than 800 of them – he says through laughter.

According to him, the museum attracts great attention of experts and scientists who use every opportunity to visit.

A dean of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in Zagreb was recently visiting, and on that occasion we agreed on a joint approach towards the European funds in order to make the digitization of all items and make them accessible to everyone – says Professor Avdić.

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