Earlier this year while heading southwest of Joburg to collect a consignment of trophies to ship, I came across what was undoubtedly my finest roadkill specimen to date. The sun was just rising and the road kill was fresh – not your regular activity when road tripping. But it’s something I started (collecting roadkill) since being a ‘lighty’ (southern African term for a kid) while driving around with my dad. The kills had to be intact and not too smelly, otherwise I just kept a bunch of feathers, for example, guinea fowl or owls. I’d skin colorful breast feathers and dry the wings; it was my way of appreciating forever the different species. Odd – but that’s me.
Afton is now my giant man-cave and home to all these. And having access to and working with a number of great taxidermists around the country, I’ve upgraded to collecting animals. I get to showcase what the taxidermist work. They often have spare, extra, or ones that clients never paid for, or I can just buy. And when I have a roadkill, it’s a win-win for everyone to have it mounted. Owls, a lilac-breasted roller, and soon, a water monitor, a lesser spotted genet, but for this trip, it was the serval.
This cat is one of the most underrated or unappreciated animals. A cat, (retractable claws) with extraordinary hearing, pouncing on or jumping up to catch its prey, it has the most spectacular coat. A treat to watch it moving through the grass – and as a memento of Africa, for me, it is right up there.
Below is what I saw and picked up on the road that morning. When I arrived at Africas Best Taxidermy they actually had a full mount serval right there. They have promised to do exactly the same mount for my serval and have it ready for Afton in the not-too-distant future. Their link shows you just what they are about.