The theme behind the exhibition, “Laws of Nature: the Arc of 2000”, inaugurated in 1998, is the importance of biodiversity. The impending dangers and Mankind’s commitment to safeguarding biodiversity are both highlighted.
The splendid specimen of a Tridacna shell, exhibited at the entrance to the room, is just one of the very many manifestations of this phenomenon. Other panels dealing with themes relating to biodiversity provide in-depth information on evolution and ‘natural’ extinction.
The room is divided into three ‘spaces’ dedicated to themes relating to this key problem area. The first space focuses on Man as the agent of ‘historic’ extinctions of species such as the dodo, a reconstruction of which is on display, and the passenger pigeon. Attention is also paid to the question of human activities and threatened species naturally occurring in the wild, which are exposed to commercial exploitation. A particularly striking item is the arched cabinet hosting many artefacts confiscated by the Corps of Foresters of the State, which have claimed the lives of many animals threatened with extinction as a species.
The next space is dedicated to hunting. Attention is also paid to the problem of introducing species to be hunted into the environment. Poaching is also dealt with. The nets, snares and traps exhibited in one cabinet provide a record of the illicit tools of the poacher’s trade.
Our itinerary now takes us to the space dedicated to nature conservation on the part of humans, through nature reserves and protected areas. The arched cabinet hosts a steinbock, a species saved from extinction at the Parco del Gran Paradiso nature reserve. The park – once a game reserve of the House of Savoy – is Italy’s first nature reserve. To complete the section, in-depth information is provided on the threats posed by environmental change and by the introduction of species, which do not belong to the local fauna.