Historically important bird and mammal skin collections dating back to the 1850's and earlier are held at Iziko South African Museum. The foal of the extinct Quagga is an example.
Recent growth of the collections has centred on building up skeletal collections of birds and mammals, which are the best in South Africa. Because the Iziko South African Museum is located in Cape Town, the broad collection strategy is on representivity of species from the southern African subregion and focuses on the fynbos biome of the Western Cape Province. All the bird, amphibian, reptile and mammal collections have been computerised.
Ongoing projects, based on the appropriate care for the collection – type, ensure the continued conservation of the specimens in the collections and on display. All terrestrial vertebrate collections are fumigated regularly with insecticide. The preserving fluid used in the wet collections is ethyl alcohol. The alcohol levels are checked at regular intervals and topped up when necessary.