Crocodiles are protected animals and included into the lists of CITES
At the beginning of the 20th century the number of crocodiles decreased greatly due to the non-controlled hunt, and later due to ruining the dwelling places of the crocodiles. Today they are protected animals, though the protecting status varies depending on different species. Besides, all the crocodiles are included into the lists of CITES — Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. Almost all the countries, interested in crocodile trade, signed the convention in 1975. CITES prohibits the wild crocodile hunt. The animals whose skin is used to make shoes, accessories, and design elements are bred in special farms. Countries, ecologists and corporations of fashion industry strive after complete transparency of the crocodile business. All the European countries and CIS joined CITES. The customs bodies of these states control import of the crocodile skin. According to the convention, a certificate with information about every skin, its qualities and a seal number is issued for every skin consignment. The crocodile skin sold without necessary documents is the object of illegal trade. Under the convention, if the certificate CITES is not produced at customs of the importing country (or if it expired or has data which don’t correspond to the imported skins of the consignment), the skins must be confiscated and annihilated. Legislation of some countries demand indication of the CITES certificate number on the ware’s packing while producing goods of crocodile leather.
For leather production the crocodiles are bred in special farms. They are situated in the nature zones where the crocodiles dwell. This allows to avoid difficulties with creation of the appropriate living conditions. Most of the farms are in Africa, Australia, Thailand, USA, Indonesia, and also in Papua New Guinea.
The farms are fenced pieces of ground with a nature or artificial reservoir, divided into sectors and have zoo-technical constructions inside. In the farms the species dwelling in the corresponding regions are usually bred. There is a permanent stock of breeders: a lot of female and several male crocodiles. The laid eggs are taken away and are incubated artificially. The hatched new-born crocodiles don’t have enemies and are well fed in the farms. Thus, the death percent is almost zero, whereas the most of young crocodiles living in wild nature don’t survive. They are grown up three years, and when their length is at least 180 cm, the young crocodiles are used for leather production. Crocodiles’ meat is also exported. Crocodile meat eaters live almost everywhere in the world. Bones and osteoderm of the crocodiles are crumbled and used to produce fertilizers and fodder for poultry. Strange though, the farms perform a nature protecting function. They preserve population of different crocodile species, including rare ones. The complexes with up to 10000 animals become, in fact, scientific and research centres for biologists from all around the world.
The farms only store the skins. There are only a few companies in the world that curry and dye them. The skins, purified and soaked in antibacterial liquid in the farms are put into special refrigerators and sent for processing.