Fears stolen Natural History Museum birds will be used as fishing lures





Detectives fear that almost 300 rare and "irreplaceable" tropical birds stolen from the Natural History Museum's ornithological collection could be ripped to shreds for use as fishing lures, dress adornments and costume jewellery.

Curators at the museum's bird collection in Tring, Hertfordshire, noticed that dozens of specimens had gone missing following a break-in on 24 June.

Although the thieves left behind more than 8,000 "specimen types", including the finches collected by Charles Darwin in the Galápagos, they took 299 birds.

The gang, which could have stolen the birds to order, removed quetzal and cotinga birds, animals that had originated in Central and South America, and birds of paradise from Papua New Guinea.

Police believe those responsible had detailed knowledge of the birds since the cabinets were labelled with Latin names organised in evolutionary order and only a small number of birds were disturbed...


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