11/12/2013 02:53 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

The Heroes of Taxidermy

Everyone is proud of their kitschy work of taxidermy. Picked up at a quirky antique shop, or bluntly ordered online, stuffed animals have become all the rage, but few collectors of such curiosities have the honor of knowing that their deceased beast was a true hero in life. Thanks to the ghoulish wonders of taxidermy and hero worship, many of the most remarkable animals in history have been stuffed, posed, and put on display to forever remember their selfless deeds. Whether for their military service, their charity work, or simply their unflagging loyalty, nearly every sort of creature great and small has at one time been preserved and displayed, managing to stay regal, years after their death. Most humans could be so lucky as to be held in the same delicate esteem as these precious pets.

For instance there is Station Jim, the charity collecting dog of the Slough Railway Station.


Image by Atlas User val

Or Cher Ami, the heroic WWI pigeon who lost a leg in the line of duty.


Image via Wikimedia Commons

Or even Huberta, a lonely hippo who walked across South Africa for years, only to be shot down by farmers.


Image via Gutted Arcades of the Past

To see more well-preserved zoological champions check out Atlas Obscura's Essential Guide to Taxidermy Heroic Animals!