The Museum of Zoology of the Life Sciences Center of Vilnius University (VU) will be complemented by a unique collection of stuffed vertebrate animals. The gift is donated by physicist Gediminas Vaitiekūnas to his Alma Mater.
On 18 April, VU rector Prof. Artūras Žukauskas and G. Vaitiekūnas signed cooperation and donation agreements. VU alumnus donates exhibits of mammals and some birds hunted in 33 countries of the world. The whole collection consists of 100 units of exhibits. The majority of them is from Africa (56 units), Europe (27 units), Asia (12 units), South America (10 units) and North America (4 units). Many exhibits of the exposition were prepared by Kęstutis Bybartas, the world champion of taxidermy.
“Vilnius University was the only higher education school I had been studying at. It is the best university in Lithuania and I am very happy to be its alumnus. My father and son are physicists as well. I have been supporting the Physicist’s day for many years and sometimes I pay a visit on that day. When my son was a student and my father worked at the Faculty of Physics of VU, I used to feel what was going on at the university. Now I take pleasure in being able to complement the Museum of Zoology. When I found out that it was moved to new premises, I thought of donating the collection to my Alma Mater. I sincerely wish that my collection would bring benefit to the society, the academic and scientific community, and I am glad that I can complement VU Museum of Zoology with such species which have not been there before,“ said G. Vaitiekūnas. According to the owner of the collection, the most valuable exhibits are those which were hunted under very severe conditions. From his trophies he would exclude the Far East moose, that was hunted at Chukotka, the Marco Polo sheep, that was hunted at Tian Shan mountains, and Dagestan goat, that was hunted at the Causasus.
“I am happy that our alumni return to the university eagerly and share their achievements with young generation. Such relationship and initiatives are very important to the university. They contribute to the university’s value, increases social capital as well as trust of the society and its members very much. Also, it is of remarkable service not only to the society but to the academic community, as well. There is no doubt that this impressive collection will enrich the museum and will be interesting not only to students but to pupils and their parents who regularly visit us and who will be able to have a look at exhibits they have not seen before, as well.” said VU rector Prof. A. Žukauskas.
First of all, the first part of the collection, consisting of 19 exhibits hunted in Europe, Africa, North and South America, will arrive to VU. These are four fully stuffed birds and seven fully stuffed mammals, the remaining are stuffed front parts. The Museum of Zoology of the Life Sciences Center will be complemented by a capercaillie, black grouse, woodcock, vulturine guineafowl, common ostrich, black backed jackal, anubis, black bear, caracal, puma, walrus, wolverine, desert warthog, Kapas red river hog, reindeer, Siberian roebuck, Reeves’s muntjac, water deer and burchell’s zebra. G. Vaitiekūnas’ collection consists of rare fauna and anatomies.
G. Vaitiekūnas is the Director General of UAB “Skaidula”, an alumnus of the Faculty of Physics of VU, a member of “Rotary” club, a member of Vilnius hunters’ organisation and the Chairman of Deer Farmers Association in Lithuania. He has bee hunting in 33 countries.