Invitation to the press conference: Cooperation between NHM Vienna and Schönbrunn Zoo Presentation of a new polar bear mount

28. September 2023
The world’s oldest zoo, Schönbrunn Zoo, was founded in 1752 by Emperor Franz I Stephan of Lorraine. It is not only a UNESCO World Heritage Site but also one of the world’s leading zoological gardens.
Looking back on a history of more than 270 years, the Natural History Museum (NHM) Vienna is a research museum that had its roots in the imperial collections. Dedicated to “the realm of nature and its exploration”, the museum is a Gesamtkunstwerk with a unique atmosphere where the extensive scientific collections are preserved, expanded, researched and presented to the public.
Not only inspiring places of encounter of world renown, the two institutions by definition have an educational and research mission. They present and elucidate the diversity of nature and are powerful research partners for projects related to nature and species conservation.

On 10 October 2023 at 10.30 a.m., the Natural History Museum Vienna together with Schönbrunn Zoo is pleased to extend an invitation to a press conference at the NHM Vienna lecture hall.

Experts will report on current and future cooperation and explain which areas will enjoy increased mutual support.

Venue: Natural History Museum Vienna, Maria-Theresien-Platz, 1010 Vienna, lecture hall on the mezzanine floor and behind the scenes in the main zoological taxidermy department.

Admission: from 10:00 a.m.

Start: at 10:30 a.m.


Welcome and introductory statement:
Dr Katrin Vohland, CEO and Director General, NHM Vienna

About cooperation:
Dr Folko Balfanz, zoological curator and former veterinarian, Schönbrunn Zoo

On the art of zoological taxidermy:
Dr. Ernst Mikschi, Director of the I. Zoological Department of the NHM Vienna

Followed by: a visit to the new polar bear exhibit and the new beluga whale model with
the staff of the Zoological Preparation Unit Natalie Wallner, Robert Illek, Mag, Iris Rubin.

For the NHM’s new special exhibition ARCTIC. Polar World in Transition (on view from 8 Nov 2023 to 22 Sept 2024 in the special exhibition rooms), Schönbrunn Zoo has made available the carcass of a deceased female polar bear, which was transformed into a lifelike exhibit with great artistic skill and craftsmanship by the Zoological Preparation Unit.

The “making of” of this special taxidermy mount as well as the new model of a beluga whale are presented in the workshops, exemplifying the expertise of the unit.

The polar bears at Schönbrunn Zoo are part of the EAZA Ex-Situ Programme for the conservation of endangered species. Schönbrunn Zoo considers knowledge transfer, research and contributing to species conservation as very important remits, and the polar bears at Schönbrunn Zoo are ambassadors for their conspecifics in the wild. Even after their demise, some of the zoo's animals still fulfil an important function as ambassadors and in terms of education. This female polar bear now fulfils this task in the special exhibition “Arctic. Polar World in Transition”.
Thematically, the new exhibition focuses on the unique nature of the Arctic, its fascination and vulnerability as well as the rapid changes the region undergoes. The unmistakable and measurable effects of climate change, but also the geopolitical changes following in its wake, have attracted global attention to the Arctic. “The exhibition highlights the many facets and roles of this unique ecosystem from different perspectives, showing that today more than ever, the Arctic fulfils a vital global role that links it closely to people’s lives,” says NHM Vienna Director General/CEO Dr Katrin Vohland about the objective of the show.

Please register for the press conference at:

Mag. Irina Kubadinow
Leitung Presse & Öffentlichkeitsarbeit, Pressesprecherin
Tel.: + 43 (1) 521 77 – 410

Taxidermy of a polar bear at the NHM Vienna
© NHM Wien, Christina Rittmannsperger
Taxidermy of a polar bear at the NHM Vienna
© NHM Wien, Christina Rittmannsperger