Sunday, 30 November 2008

A Thai Museum

Praserd Sriyonyong’s innocuous-looking house in Thailand holds everything from mammoth heads to dinosaur bones, a massive testimony to the man’s obsession with collection and natural history. There are around 400,000 natural history items, including an incredible mammoth head and dinosaur skeleton inside this very unusual house. Sriyonyong says he bought them from some “rich people” in Thailand’s rural hinterland that had them in their possession for generations.

"I have 300 heads of “kouprey” (Cambodian forest ox) alone; neither the British Museum nor the Louvre has even one specimen of this extinct animal. I also hold the world’s record for antlers”, says Praserd Sriyonyong with pride, a tall, striking-looking man in his early fifties. Sriyonyong is now looking for partners, financial and related specialists, to build and house his fabulous collection as a modern museum, to be centred around a tourist complex by the side of the main road near the ruins of Ayutthaya, Thailand’s historical city founded in 1350 A.D. and destroyed in 1767, now a UNESCO heritage site.

Conservation scientist Antony Lynam of the Asia programmes of the Wildlife Conservation Society said “All who have seen the collection agree that it represents a unique resource for scientific research and education.”

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