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Himalayan mountaineering institute – Darjeeling zoo – Natural history museum

A testament to the indigenous flora and fauna of the region, the Bengal Natural History Museum is a fascinating plethora of more than 4000 specimens being exhibited. Located in the heart of Darjeeling at the Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park, this museum was originally started as a small building in the Botanical Garden meant to showcase the varieties of butterflies and birds of the hills. Today, one can find preserved remains of the bird species, reptiles, insects, fishes, and mammals displayed in a replication of their natural habitats. An attractive display of the various minerals of the region is present here as well.There are two sections at the museum, one at the ground level and the other in the basement. This comprehensive collection of animals includes rare specimens such as the Himalayan Brown Wood Owl, Northern spotted owlet, Northern Brown Fish Owl, pelicans, pheasants, Tibetan fox, Tibetan Lynx, Toddy cat, panthers, leopards, tigers, and the Estuarine crocodile, representative of the native wildlife of the Eastern Himalayas. There is also a large collection of birds’ nests and eggs. A specialised taxidermy unit is present at the Bengal Natural History Museum to oversee the curing, stuffing and preparation of the birds and animals to be displayed as exhibits.
The insects’ exhibit has a wide assortment of butterflies, moths, dragonflies and beetles. The museum also has a small library where one might find many interesting books, including the 125 volume series titled ‘The fauna of British India’.