La Traveler - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Louisiana Traveler: Westlake Taxidermists

Like father, like son. Josh German said he's learned a lot over the years, watching his award-winning father, Steve, in his taxidermy shop.

"As a little kid running around the taxidermy shop, I'd play with things," said Josh. "I'd grab foam, always studying Dad and following in his footsteps. When I was probably about 10 or 11, I really striked an interest in it."

Taxidermy is known as "the arrangement of skin." Steve's been doing it for over four decades. 

"I never dreamed 40 years ago when I started this business that I would be mounting zebras and giraffes and hyenas and stuff like that," said Steve. "It's mind boggling." 

With help from folks like fellow taxidermist, Mike McConnell, this shop never stops. Throughout the year, Steve, Josh and Mike stay busy working on everything from alligators to zebras. The showroom adjacent to their workshop looks something like a museum.  Maybe even better.

"We wanted to have a really neat and very unique area for people to observe animals and see what we can do to design our trophy rooms. Because that's a big part of our business as well." 

Their next project is loaded up in crates in their workshop. It's an elephant.

"I think they want European mounts done with them," said Steve. "Bleached skulls. And the ivory is in those two crates right there and we're building two elaborate stands for the ivory to set on. They also have a bunch of animals: Life-sized hyenas. They've got a lot of stuff to be done."

Copyright 2013 KPLC. All rights reserved.

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