SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The future of taxidermy at the now-closed Delbridge Museum of Natural History at the Great Plains Zoo in Sioux Falls is up in the air, but residents are getting a better idea of how the city council feels about the out-of-commission collection. One week after sharing that a detectable level of arsenic was found in nearly 80% of specimens at the museum, Sioux Falls Zoo & Aquarium CEO Becky Dewitz spoke to the city council on Tuesday.

“Your best mode of action would be to enclose them in glass and replace the ventilation systems,” Dewitz said. “We unfortunately can no longer work with the taxidermist we’ve had a long-term relationship with because after he learned about the arsenic contamination he is no longer willing to assist in this work.”

Don Kearney, director of parks and recreation with the City of Sioux Falls, echoed her remarks.

“The other thing we heard from our museum colleagues was that the best practice for taxidermy with detectable arsenic is to remove the mount from the exhibit and place it in a air-tight glass case,” Kearney said.

“It’s not that we made the decision to close because of arsenic; we don’t have the mitigation in place for such arsenic,” Dewitz said.

The city wants to declare the collection a surplus; this, according to city attorney Dave Pfeifle, would allow another organization to receive the collection now owned by the city.

“I’m just going to keep fighting because I just think this is so wrong,” councilor Greg Neitzert said. “I’m saddened, I’m disappointed and I’m just frankly appalled.”

Neitzert made clear his opposition to closing a museum because of arsenic.

“There’s no scientific basis for this,” Neitzert said. “It has no precedent, and it is completely at odds with best practices in museums around the world, the opinion of museum and conservation organizations.”

Councilors looked down the road on an afternoon when there were few empty chairs at Carnegie Town Hall.

“It may be the case that there is a 501(c)3 that is willing to accept a long-term loan of these, this collection, under those terms,” councilor David Barranco said. “And it, it’s going to be a tough lift. But potentially they could comply with all the laws.”

“We’re going to take our time,” councilor Marshall Selberg said. “We’re not rushing into anything here. This is why we had the meeting today and had this presentation, and we’re happy to see everybody here. We’re listening. So I think that there are choices. There probably are ways to preserve it.”

The council is set to vote on designating the collection as surplus on September 19.