Natural History Showcase
The EcoTarium was founded in 1825 as the Worcester Lyceum of Natural History, and is the second oldest Natural History Museum in the United States. Our oldest specimen, a whale’s tooth, was collected that same year. We’ve been adding to our collection ever since, and now have approximately 50,000 specimens.
We have over 300 specimens on permanent display, and hundreds more that are available during special programs. Each quarter, we will pull one of the hidden gems from our collection to put on display.
Currently Exhibiting, July – September:
Leopards (Panthera pardus) are found throughout Africa and Asia. They are ambush hunters who wait quietly for prey like deer and antelope to get close before the leopard strikes. Once they eat their fill, leopards carry leftovers into trees to keep their food safe from other large animals.
Historically, among the Zulu people in southern Africa, especially brave warriors were given leopard skins to wear as shirts or capes. European colonists later also hunted leopards, without concern for their scarcity or symbolic importance. Today, the International Union for Conservation of Nature lists the leopard as Vulnerable. This means the population is decreasing and at risk of extinction unless circumstances improve. Zulu individuals today who want to honor their culture often choose synthetic leopard-print fabric or wear leopard regalia made long ago. This leopard was donated to the EcoTarium in 1962 by Robert Stoddard.
Exhibit is included with admission.