Brazil collection of snakes, spiders burned
Fire destroyed what may be the world's largest scientific collection of dead snakes, scorpions and spiders.
Sun, May 16, 2010 at 10:12 AM
BURNED DOWN: Officials at the institute said they are already working to rebuild the collection. (Photo: Instituto Butantan)
Officials say fire has destroyed what may be the world's largest scientific collection of dead snakes, spiders and scorpions.
Members of the Instituto Butantan say the collection of nearly 80,000 specimens was the main source for research on thousands of species.
Institute curator Francisco Franco says Saturday's fire caused a huge "loss to humanity." Franco tells Globo TV that the institute's snake collection was "the biggest in the world."
The institute is famed for production of vaccines and drugs, some derived from venom.
Officials say some of the specimens were preserved in flammable liquids, which contributed to the spread of the fire.
Live animals that are kept at the institute were in a building adjacent to the one that burned but were safe. Volunteers removed the animals just in case the fire spread.
The fire did not hurt any humans or live animals.
Copyright 2010 AP News
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