Taxidermist Feature: Marakalalo

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Company Name: Krugertaxidermy t/a Marakalalo (Pty) Ltd.
Contact: (Owner/Manage) Kruger Human
Physical Address: 21 Stormavenue, Bainsvlei, Bloemfontein, Free State Province, South Africa
Tel Office: +27 (0) 649382563  Mobile: +27 (0)834478132
Contact Email: kruger@krugertaxidermy.com  Website: www.krugertaxidermy.com

Tell us a little about your operation. How it started & why you got into the industry.

Kruger Human is part of the fifth generation of the Human family in South Africa. His great- grandparents moved into the Kalahari region of South Africa after the Anglo-Boer war.

They settled in this thirsty, semi-desert area that is today known as the Kagalagadi Transfrontier Park between South Africa, Namibia and Botswana. They farmed with limited livestock and lived off the land, hunting wild game and birds. Their small farmhouse built with limestone and thatched grass, is today a museum in the heart of the Park.

Kruger grew up in a hunting and fishing environment and inherited his love for wild fauna and flora from this rich family legacy. As a child he hunted small animals and birds, and shot his first antelope at the age of six. Today he has 50 years of experience in hunting and fishing adventures. He has been involved in in wildlife management and conservation projects for 35 years, including 20 years as a Professional Hunter and Hunting Outfitter that includes a license in Botswana.

His artistic talent and passion for wildlife started the hobby of taxidermy in 1997.Krugertaxidermy is today a business, but Kruger still prefers to call it his wildlife art a hobby and does not want the business side to dictate his passion for wildlife art. With his vast knowledge of the Southern Africa fauna and flora, his wildlife and hunting adventures took him to Kenya, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Botswana.

Kruger still hunts and fishes Africa’s wilderness areas, and he studies and conserves wildlife. His passion for hunting, fishing and conservation projects gives him a high level of knowledge of animals and birds to compliment his current full time profession as a taxidermist.

How many years have you been in the business?

Kruger started taxidermy art as a hobby in 1997. From 1999 to 2003, Kruger received training from one of the top taxidermists in the United States of America – Bill Mason, owner of Mason’s Taxidermy in West Virginia, USA. Bill made sure that Kruger received invaluable training in the finer points of the art of taxidermy

What are your favorite mounts & why?

I don’t necessarily have favorite animals as each is unique. However, the degree of difficulty to mount cats and small mammals to perfection is rewarding. Big cats like lion and leopard, and small cats like caracal and serval really test a taxidermist’s skill and talent. Kudu and eland are also favorites, and off course pachyderms.

Action mounts are difficult and if you are not careful you can mess up the expressions. One of my favorite displays is this picture of a Cheetah chasing four Springbucks.It also excites me when I mount the ibex, wild sheep and antlered species of the world. It gives me a good idea of my position in the industry in comparison with top taxidermists of the world.

What are your specialty areas that you have in the business?

I sculpt or make my own forms and I am sure that is the specialty area of the business. Especially my cat mounts. Changing forms and styles all the time. I do however have taxidermy friends and we share manikins, but I make changes as to have my own ‘signature’ on the mounts.

I guess the fact that I receive trophies from hunters from all over the world is an indication that I am on par with some of the best. I don’t think many SA taxidermists receive trophies from all countries in Africa, Canada, Spain, Turkey, Alaska, USA, Krygystan, Azarbajan, Tajikistan, Greenland, to name a few. This makes the company unique as I do not specialize in African animals only, I can mount any species.

Current processes offered

Pick up & collect trophies? Trophy collection around SA and Import from any country

Maximum distance offered to collect trophies? We have a network of people and collect anywhere in SA

Own tanning facilities? Marakalalo only tan the skins/capes we use in the mount process, flat skins are send to a commercial professional company

Do you buy in forms or sculpt your own or both? 90 % of my forms have been sculpted/built by myself and every time we alter a form into a specific pose ordered by a client, I make a mold to save time for future mounts.

Delivery time (approximate):

Dip and Pack: 3-4 months
European mounts: 4 months
Shoulder mounts: 8-10 months
Full mounts: 10 – 12 months

General Comments

I put my hand on each taxidermy piece, whether I personally mount it or if it is mounted by one of my taxidermists. Marakalalo is definitely not a speed service and the policy is that we would rather be three months late than sned out work of sub-standard quality.

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