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American arrested for stealing 299 stuffed birds
The unnamed 22 year-old has been arrested in connection with a break in at the museum back in June. The birds that were stolen were all rare and would have fetched a fair amount on the black market, showing that the unnamed suspect knew what he was doing. Most of the stuffed birds have now been recovered.
The Natural History Museum at Tring is famous for its collection of more than 750,000 preserved birds, 95% of all the world's species. If you're not in the neighborhood, you can still check out their species of the day, a feature running throughout 2010 in celebration of the UN's International Year of Biodiversity. Today's species is the Welwitschia mirabilis, a plant that can live for up to 1,500 years despite living in the harsh Namib Desert.
This seems to be a mixed year for museums. Hundreds of historic treasures have gone missing in Pennsylvania and the Met had to fork over some stolen Egyptian artifacts.
On the bright side, museum attendance is up as people try to save money by visiting sights close to home. Hopefully none of these folks are stuffing dead critters into their coats.
[Photo courtesy Sarah Hartwell]