Mammalogy – Is the study of mammals derived from the Latin mamma meaning teat.
The mammal collection dates back to 1907. By the late 1950s the collection had grown to one of the largest and diverse collections in the Southern Hemisphere and eight largest in the world. It holds over 100 000 specimens from the Southern African region.
Many specimens were added to the collection including the skins of many large antelope, giraffe and zebra by the Department of Game and Fisheries, the Department of National Parks and the Department of Tsetse and Trypanosomiasis Control. Most of the research in the early years was directed at the ecology and distribution of mammal species of the sub-region resulting in many major publications and books. More recent work has been on the taxonomic and systematic aspects of the collection.The department assists various local and international institutions in taxonomic research. It also assists the general public, tertiary students, visiting researchers, professional guides and hunters, as well as agriculturists.
The walk-through Livingstone Sango-Moyo Gallery was named after one of the former taxidermists in the department. It includes a variety of mammals and birds with their natural settings. It is one of the highlights of the museum. Beyond this in the Mammals Gallery where a variety of panoramas display various aspects of Zimbabwe’s rich mammal heritage.
Current and Future Research
Ms Tsitsi Maponga is the present Curator and her work includes computerising the collection as well as working on the Elephant Shrews.