Lions, tigers, taxidermy, arsenic, political squabbling and the Endangered Species Act. Oh my.
The fate of the mounted lion, bears, gorilla and other animals that have long greeted visitors entering a Sioux Falls zoo looks grim. After finding arsenic in nearly 80 percent of the more than 150 animals that make up the collection, the city closed the museum at the Great Plains Zoo. Arsenic was once commonly used to preserve taxidermy specimens, and museum officials elsewhere said it can be done so safely with extra precautions. But Sioux Falls says there is no acceptable level of risk the known carcinogen. Getting rid of the taxidermy mounts won’t be easy. Federal law prohibits selling endangered animal parts. State law bars giving them away to out-of-state groups.