A common question asked when we were younger was, “what do you want to be when you grow up?”. A lot of us would say that we would want to be doctors, teachers, actors, pilots and even astronauts. Which are considered careers that are quite well known in this day and age. However, if we are talking about “unusual occupations”, we first have to understand the definition of unusual.
Which is….according to Dictionary.com, not common or not ordinary.
Therefore, I began my search for unusual occupations, there were quite a few that were really unique and surprising to me. Some examples of those jobs were professional sleeping (I would love to do that!), a tree doctor, a mermaid and even a professional ad-clicker. However, the unusual occupation that really caught my eye was being a Taxidermist. A Taxidermist is a job where by you prepare, stuff, and mount the skins of animals with life-like effect. Before this, I did not realise that taxidermy was considered an occupation , I always thought that it was something done for professional hunting or for poachers to prize their kills up a wall. Which I always found cruel and mean to kill an animal for the sake of a sport or profit, especially in cold-blood(eg. Rhino horns, Shark Fins).However, after doing this assignment about ‘Unusual occupations’ it has really taught me about the usefulness of taxidermy, for preservation, only if the animal died from natural causes.
This occupation was particularly interesting to me because, this gives us a chance to preserve the looks of certain animals. This is useful because some pet owners may not be able to completely get over the loss of their pets and needs a certain way of remembering how their pets used to look like and with taxidermy as an occupation. Pet owners could just get a life like version of the pet they have just lost. Hence, their pet’s looks and special features can be immortalised. I know it is nothing compared to the pet actually being alive but a 3-D life like statue of the pet is better than a simple photo. Which makes ’till death do us part’ invalid, to a certain extent. Think of it as a way to memorialize pets.
In addition, animals going extinct in this day and age are becoming more common due to habitat destruction and excessive hunting. A recent example of an animal species which has a high risk of going extinct is the white rhinoceros, the death of the world’s last remaining male northern white rhino, Sudan caused the species to be at risk. On March 19th 2018, Sudan passed away. Now, only two female northern white rhinos remain at the conservancy. Which is now very close to impossible for the white rhino population to repopulate. Having said that, scientist were attempting to breed a new rhino in a lab. Sex cells were harvested from the living northern white rhinos , and scientist are hoping to use IVF (In-Vitro Fertilisation) to impregnate the white rhinos that remain. IVF is a medical procedure whereby an egg is fertilized by sperm in a test tube or elsewhere outside the body. However, Philip Muruthi, vice president of species protection at the African Wildlife Foundation, said that “There’s no guarantee that [IVF] will work”. In addition, he adds that it’s extremely expensive and could cost more than $9 million for this procedure.
Hence, when an animal species cease to exist, this would cause the future generation not to be able to visualise how that particular animal used to look like. However, with the help of taxidermy the future generation can get a 3D visualisation of what that animal used to look like and how does the texture of the animal feels like. As taxidermy uses the actual skin of that particular animal. In a way this animal is preserved
This occupation is of my interest because, now taxidermy is used as a means to teach and not for personal gain. Especially, in Singapore where it is illegal to kill animals. Therefore, taxidermy cannot be used to harm animals but instead to preserve their looks. As, it is a technique for preserving vertebrate of animal remains. Which include methods of preserving elements of an animal for study or display after the animals death. I feel that this is of importance as the future generation should have the right to know how animals that have went extinct used to really look like and how the animals behaved.
I am glad to have known about this career existing in Singapore as it is not normally talked about, making it an unusual occupation. However, it is quite a noble thing to help the future generation of Singapore know slightly more on what they may have missed in their timeline. Jobs are usually considered unusual when they are foreign and unknown to the norm, however we can help make this types of jobs more common in the years to come. In conclusion, I learnt and I was reminded that it is always good to improve things for the better, an example from taxidermy was that it was originally used as a form of trophy or achievement for killing animals but now its is commonly used for educational and research purposes. Which is definitely better.