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Tana River to commercialise crocodile farming

07 October 2013, 18:24 Bob Ndwiga

Tana River - The Tana River County government is exploring ways of making the large number of crocodiles in River Tana profitable to the local people.

Governor Hussein Dado said the County government planned to fund a study to ascertain the economical and environmental value of the crocodiles presently viewed as an enemy of the people and livestock.

He said that once the economical value of the crocodiles was identified, the County would partner with experts to commercialise the rearing and protection of crocodiles as an economic resources.

Talking to the Press at Galili Village over the weekend, Dado said that the continued harvest of crocodiles by private firms in the County would in future be controlled.

“The County government will come up with legislation to ensure that the crocodiles are protected as one of the economic resources of the Tana River County and henceforth sustainably exploited to benefit the people of this County,” said Dado.

He said that unlike in the past when crocodile meat was a legalised delicacy in a few expensive restaurants in Mombasa and Nairobi, the meat should in future be available in the open market.

He said they will identify ways of legalising the use and sale of crocodile meat with their exploitation being carried out in an environmentally sustainable method.

The governor said his government would also look for experts to start crocodile skin leather-tanning in the County as one of the means of ensuring that their maximum benefits are realised.

Internationally, crocodile skin is known to produce some of the best and expensive leather products such as belts and wallets.

Production of such items in Tana River County, Dado said, would provide the region with an opportunity to earn better incomes by accessing the export market.

He promised that ways would also be explored to make crocodiles a tourist attraction through initiation of crocodiles farms and sanctuaries in the County and limit their translocation to farms in Malindi and Mombasa by private ranchers.

While crocodiles in Tana River can earn the region huge incomes from meat and skins, the animals are mainly viewed with disgust because of their attacks on people and livestock.

The Pokomo community appreciates crocodile meat as a delicacy but its killing is viewed as poaching by the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS).

Only licensed sanctuary owners are allowed to capture the animals and rare them in the establishments where they charge tourists to view them. The private crocodile farmers and use them as a source of income through sale of their meat and skins.

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