While I’m sorry, of course, that Archduke Franz Ferdinand was shot in Sarajevo on 28 June 1914, there’s a little bit of me that feels he had it coming to him. I speak not on behalf of Serbian nationalism, but on behalf of Antipodean wildlife.
Last year when I was in Vienna I visited the Natural History Museum. There are some wonderful items in this rather fusty old museum, including the Venus of Willendorf and other archaeological treasures, but also far too many dead animals and birds, which don’t really do it for me. Franz Ferdinand shot an amazing number of these animals during a world tour on the Imperial battle cruiser Kaiserin Elizabeth in 1893, accompanied by his own personal taxidermist and a zoologist from the Imperial Natural History Museum. Continue reading