The Northern Territory Government is seeking expressions of interest from anyone willing to take the crocodiles it removes from Top End waterways.
According to an article on the ABC News website, the tender process has opened for “appropriately qualified and experienced organisations or individuals” to buy “problem” crocodiles captured by NT’s Parks and Wildlife Commission in Darwin Harbour and the outer Darwin rural area.
But before you envisage a small business producing homemade belts and stubby coolers, be warned: you will need to be able to “pick up” the raw materials – about 250 of the snappy creatures from the government yard.
The crocodile products industry, currently estimated at being worth $25 million, received a¬†boost from the NT Government¬†earlier this year, with the release of trade and management plans which aimed to double the trade to $50 million in four years.
While crocodile skin high fashion items often fetch large prices, such products require unblemished flesh, a feature not common to¬†crocodiles pulled from the wild.
The crocodiles, mostly ranging between 1.5 and 2.5 metres, are usually caught in baited traps – aluminium cages with a door that drops shut as the animal tears at the meat tethered to the latch trigger.
Occasionally, they are tracked down and captured by rangers, who subdue the¬†notoriously uncooperative animals with a combination of strength, skill and attitude.
Anyone hoping to pump out crocodile skin boots to be sold for thousands of dollars in European fashion houses should think again.
The NT Government said the average skin of the captured crocs was “considered to be third grade”.
European fashion houses Hermes and Louis Vuitton both have interests in crocodile operations in Australia.
The individual or organisation that submits the successful tender must satisfy the Government its operation ensures the “humane and ethical treatment of the animals, as well as the work health and safety of employees/staff”.
You will need a truck, ropes, tie-downs and decent lifting gear too, as the “contractor shall supply all labour, equipment and transportation to remove crocodiles from the commission service yard”.
Other criteria upon which the successful tender will be decided includes the price applicants are prepared to pay for both male and females, “personal work history”, willingness to “take all animals caught”, plans to employ Indigenous people and “innovative and unique ideas to utilise the animal”.
The tender application process closes on April 1, 2016.