Repairing Damaged Ears (Bugs) on African Mounts

Submitted by Gary King on 10/5/99. ( )

I am looking for information on how to repair ears on African Game that have been eaten by bugs before shipment to the states. Half the ear is missing on one of them. Would appreciate some different idea's.
Rebuilding, painting or whatever works. Thanks!

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how about alittle ........

This response submitted by Jeff T. Becker on 10/5/99. ( )

more info... let us know the specific kinds of animals,, then maybe we can help.

More Info

This response submitted by Gary on 10/6/99. ( )

It is a Topi. I also am mounting a Cape Buffalo with damaged ears.
The ears were eaten by bugs before it was shipped to the states. They have already been wet tanned. One of the Topi's ears is half gone.

Hmmm ... Are You Sure It IS Insect damage?

This response submitted by John Bellucci on 10/8/99. ( )

Hi Gary,

The only reason I ask that question, is because Cape Buffalo are notorious for bitten, torn, and shredded ears. Topi, Hartebeest, and such can also exhibit missing ears. Some of these occur through misadventure ... such as in their youth, many of these "peaceful" grazers will bite off an ear or two in their rambunctious play. Many ears are torn through the process of fighting, rubbing their face and head on a termite mound, or stiff tree bark, or if they get caught up in thorny brush.

So the question becomes one of :"How can I repair this?" In the case of the Cape Buffalo, after thoroughly and fully soaking-up the face and ears, lay the ear out and determine that all pieces are accounted for and that they all line up.

Then carefully turn the ear and all of its' pieces. Remove the cartilage, and using the appropriate earliner, replace all the pieces of the ear into position on the earliner. Any gaps -- actual missing sections of ear -- should have matching sections cut out of the earliner. The ear must be secured in place with a good adhesive. Mohr's Jaw Juice is a good choice! Allow the adhesive to completely dry before proceeding to mount the head.

As for the half missing ear on the Topi ... I can only suggest calling around to some fellow taxidermists or tanneries and asking if they have extra ears of this kind.

Either that, or you have to notify the client about the problem -- if he doesn't already know about it that is. If and when he is made aware, it can be handled by replicating an ear.

Using a pair of earliners, mount the good ear over the earliner. Now, think about laying both ears rearward on the mount. Topi stand like this all the time. They don't always stand with their ears cocked forward. The other earliner is mounted into what remains of the missing ear, the ear is posed back, the remaining skin secured with adhesive and allowed to fully dry.

After the mount is dried, and you're ready to finish it, model appropriately colored sculpting epoxy over the earliner, bringing it up to the thickness of the skin, using the good ear as a guide. Texture the hairs of the ear into the epoxy ... don't be afraid to experiment to get the look you need! Pluck some like-color hairs for the ear hairs over the ear opening, install them into the epoxy, and let it cure. Additionally color the replacement ear with oils and/or airbrush colors, and viola! Repaired Topi ear!

I hope this has been of help to you. Best of luck to you ... John B.

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