Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Fire at Butantan

I wrote in an earlier blog about the Butantan Institute in Sao Paulo, which amongst other things had the largest collection of live and preserved poisonous animals in the world. Snakes, spiders and scorpions kept both for the production of anti-venom, and also for identification of animals found in the wild, and for research.

Unfortunately early on Saturday morning the collection building caught fire, and the entire collection of 80,000 preserved snakes, and about 450,000 spiders and scorpions was destroyed. Incredibly there was no sprinkler system, or even a fire alarm - even more surprising when you consider that the specimens were stored in ethanol!

Still, miraculously, the early hour meant that no one was hurt, and the live snakes required for anti-venom survived. Nonetheless Brazil has lost a unique resource that will be extremely hard to replace.

1 comment:

Sarah Stephen said...

I am really sad to read about this- I do hope that other buildings housing similar resources would install fire alarms and the like.