Collecting expedition to Ghana
In August 2018 a team of exhibition planners, scientists and taxidermists of the Museum Koenig undertook an expedition to the Ankasa River Rainforest Reserve in southwestern Ghana, West Africa, to collect original plant material for the authentic reproduction of the rainforest canopy habitat. Treetops branches, lianas, epiphytes and numerous original leaves of typical rainforest trees have been collected – partly in 40-60 meter tall giant trees! This particular challenge could be mastered thanks to the support of the two professional climbers Max Broekmann and Adam Gramlich, who accompanied the collecting expedition and trained three members of the museum team in the art of tree climbing.
The expedition team in Ankasa River Forest Reserve in southwestern Ghana.
For four weeks and with the kind permission of our cooperation partner, the Wildlife Division of the Forestry Commission of Ghana, plant material for the exhibition was collected, preserved and documented in the Ankasa Rainforest. The panorama shots for the large-format diorama backgrounds as well as special film shots for particular stations in the exhibition were taken in the Kakum National Park. Here, a "Canopy Walkway" consisting of several rope bridges leads visitors since the 1990s from tree giant to tree giant across the rainforest canopy – this is a special attraction, which is also to be modeled for our museum´s visitors in the new CANOPY exhibition.
Canopy Walkway in Kakum National Parc, Ghana.
Dr. Jan Decher, Theriologist, and Dr. Marianne Espeland, Lepidopterologist at ZFMK, conducted own scientific projects to assess the species diversity of small mammals and butterflies and caddisflies, respectively, in the Ankasa River Forest Reserve and further rainforest conservation areas in Ghana.
At the end of the collecting expedition, a 40 feet container, fully packed with original material for the new CANOPY exhibition started from the remote Ankasa rainforest and was finally shipped from Ghana to Germany. Upon arrival at the Museum in Bonn, the collected material was preserved or moulded for its permanent use and now serves as the basis for the construction of the unique RAINFOREST exhibition in the Museum Koenig.
68 cubic metre of rainforest were shipped from Ghana to Germany.