Industry Sectors

“Taxidermy” is a collective noun for various aspects and processes of the industry that seeks to preserve animals for various purposes. It should be noted that there are companies and individuals that specializes on only some aspect of the process, while others offer a full range of taxidermy and associated services.
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Taxidermy means a facility where game trophies receive a complete treatment to ensure their preservation for display or study. Animals are often, but not always, portrayed in a lifelike form. The word taxidermy is derived from the Greek words "taxis" and "derma". Taxis means "to move", and "derma" means "skin" (the dermis). A Taxidermist is a person who practices taxidermy.

A Taxidermy treatment entails that either:

1) The animal trophy has been mounted in a life like manner – e.g. full mount, half mounts, shoulder mounts, or
2) Skins have been fully tanned and processed so that they can be displayed, e.g. full skin, flat skin, back skin, or
3) Skulls (bones), horns/ antlers, hooves, claws and teeth have been fully processed and mounted in some manner for display, e.g. skull & horns on shield (skull mount/ European mount), Warthog tusk set.

It must be noted that these days, many Taxidermists specialize on the mounting of trophies only, and prefer to contract the preparation of the skins and horns to specialist companies. The mounting of trophies is a highly specialized art.


Tanning is the process of treating skins and hides of animals to preserve the skins either with hair on, or to produce leather. Tanning involves a process using animal, plant, mineral or chemical products (tannins). These are acidic chemical compounds that stabilise the fibre structure of the skin and prevent it from decaying, decomposing and oxidising. A tannery is the place where the skins are processed making it more durable and less susceptible to decay. The profession is called tanner. The tanning process involves many stages where the skins have to be treated first and, once tanned, depending on the application and specific customer requests, the leather is dyed, ironed, sanded, oiled etc. There are endless variations.

Tanneries in the Taxidermy industry focuses on “hair-on” or fur tanning. Hair-on tanning is a process whereby the hide / skin is tanned whilst the hair remains intact.

Dip & Pack

(Also known as Dip & Ship). A facility that performs initial game trophy treatment prior to export of such trophies.

Skulls/ Bones/ Skeletons

The process of cleaning, processing and (sometimes) mounting animal bones, horns and skulls, etc. by using various processes including boiling and/or use of chemicals. Skeletons may be articulated, which means all sections are connected to their proper joints or location and secured to stand on its own.

High Risk Facility

Means a Taxidermy or Dip & Pack facility which handle trophies that are deemed to pose an increased disease risk as they are imported from countries with either a known disease risk, or with an unknown disease risk status, or originate from areas under veterinary restriction due to outbreaks of disease or from veterinary restricted zones such as FMD infected areas.

Low Risk Facility

Means a taxidermy or dip & pack facility which handles trophies that are deemed to pose a low risk, including trophies originating from areas in South Africa that are not under any restriction due to animal diseases, trophies imported from countries that are known and proven to be free from diseases of concerns, such as FMD, and trophies that are irradiated directly after importation into South Africa.