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Carl Akeley
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Adventurer
    (May 19, 1864-November 18, 1926)
    Born in Clarendon, New York
    Hunter and taxidermist
    Accompanied Theodore Roosevelt’s African Expedition (1909-10)
    Headed six expeditions in the Congo
    Collected and mounted animals displayed at the Field Museum in Chicago, the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC
    Considered the father of modern taxidermy
    Namesake for the Akeley Hall of African Animals at the American Museum of Natural History
    He failed the entrance exam for Yale.
    He was fired from an early job stuffing birds for women’s hats for falling asleep during work.
    During his first expedition the Congo, his behavior to the native porters prompted most of them to desert.
    During their divorce hearing, his first wife Delia claimed he had threatened her life (1923).
    He said of one silverback gorilla, ‘I am fonder of him than I am of myself’ – then shot him and stuffed him for a museum exhibit.
    He wrestled a leopard bare-handed.
    He survived six broken ribs after being trampled by an elephant.
    He helped convince King Albert I of Belgium to establish the first national park in Africa (1925).
    He invented shotcrete (and the cement gun to apply it) to repair the façade of the Field Museum (1907).
    He invented a high-speed motion picture camera and used it for the first films of gorillas in the wild.

Credit: C. Fishel


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