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September 05, 1987 - Image 46

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1987-09-05

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Best Bakery*
Body, Inc.
Marilyn Brooks
Capelli Colour Studio
Carmen's
Tommy Schey
Colony Interiors
Corporation Cortina
Cruises Only! Ltd. &
Elkin Travel Inc.

Kidz Kloz
Raphael Salon
T.C.B.Y. Yogurt*
Travelers World
Tres Chic Petites
Victoria's

West Bloomfield's Newest Fashion Center
Orchard Lake Rd. North of Maple

46 FALL '87

CROCODILE
FARMING

BY HUGH ORGEL

nimal lovers and conserva-
tionists throughout the
world have succeeded in reduc-
ing or even eliminating the in-
discriminate killing of animals
for their fur or leather. But the
world demand for the skins re-
mains at more than one-and-a-
half million per year.
It is now met by the con-
trolled culling of wild animals by
restricted licensed hunting or in
closed farming areas. Although
it may appear cruel, culling, or
the thinning out of herds, is
necessary to maintain a proper
balance between animals and
available food supplies, say
biologists and zoologists.
International agreements ban-
ning crocodile hunting have
meant that the supply of raw
skins is at a premium, and
prices have risen dramatically
during the past decade. Realiz-
ing the potential in the con-
trolled growth of crocodile and
alligator for skins, CLAL Croc-
odile Farms Ltd. (CCF) has suc-
cessfully established crocodile
farms in Israel and abroad.
They are based on an ori-
ginal batch of 20 crocodiles im-
ported to Israel from farms in
Florida and Africa. CCF, a sub-
sidiary of CLAL Investment Co.,
Israel's largest, even manages
(but does not own) a crocodile
farm in Orlando, Fla.
The market for crocodile-skin
goods such as shoes, ladies
handbags and wallets is restric-
ted to the most affluent consum-
ers. A high quality crocodile-skin
handbag, for example, costs at
least $2,000, while alligator skin
cowboy boots are priced at
more than $1,000.

In Israel, Shlomi Ranot, CCF
general manager, received the
go-ahead from the CLAL parent
company to establish a pilot
farming project to serve both as
a tourist attraction and a pro-
duction plant for crocodile
skins.
Although such farms have ex-
isted in the U.S. for more than
100 years, it was Ranot and his
CLAL crocodile farms that first
applied the methodology devel-
oped by Israeli agronomists to
scientifically-principled crocodile
breeding. They have succeeded
to such an extent that young
crocs are now being exported
from Israel back to Florida.
During the past five years,
Ranot began to adopt a phased
approach toward the eventual
worldwide marketing of croco-
dile skins.
Phase one was to build a
farming infrastructure. Because
of the primitive methods used
by existing farms, this meant
learning an entirely new field of
the incubation methods, accom-
modation and feeding neces-
sary to produce healthy
crocodiles.
It takes five to six years for a
crocodile to fully mature, and
the cost of establishing a
suitable farm is as high as a
million dollars. Thus, Ranot
decided to operate CCF's farms
not only as an agricultural ven-
ture but also as a tourist attrac-
tion. The farms are strategically
located close to major tourist
routes, with the aim of covering
their development costs from
the entrance fees charged to
visitors.
Now, CCF has acquired
enough original expertise in
crocodile breeding to enter on
a large scale the international
market for crocodile skins. With
plans under way to establish
more farms in Israel, the com-
pany intends to produce
enough skins to earn the coun-
try some $10 million a year in
net export revenue for raw
skins.

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