DAVAO CITY, Philippines – The first and only crocodile slaughterhouse in Mindanao finally started operation Wednesday in the town of Kapalong, Davao del Norte, with the skins to be sold to luxury bag maker Louis Vuitton.
Vicente Mercado, chairman of the board of J.K. Mercado and Sons Agricultural Enterprises, Inc. (JKMSAE) that owns the crocodile farm and slaughterhouse, said that other premium bag makers also buy the skins that they get from the slaughtered saltwater crocodiles or the Crocodylus porosus species.
Quality crocodile skin commands a very high price and is said to be sold per centimeter.
Located in Barangay New Katipunan in Kapalong, the 10-hectare JKMSAE farm breeds over 6,000 crocodiles both for conservation (Crocodylus mindorensis species) and trade purposes.
The crocodile slaughterhouse is considered to be the most modern and second largest in the country.
Mercado said that the JKMSAE slaughters at least 24 crocodiles a day.
The reptiles first undergo an electric stunner and the coil is cut before their brains are picked to make sure that the crocodiles are dead.
Mercado said that while the skin is sold to luxury bag makers, the crocodile meat, on the other hand, is sold in the local market and made into delicacies.
Mercado stressed that crocodiles are very important to eco-balance for the productivity of wetlands, hence the farm is also into conservation efforts.
International trade in crocodile pelts is regulated by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which serves to “regulate trade in listed species, including hybrids and captive-bred specimens, through a system of permits and certificates.”
There are only three crocodile farms in the country that are said to be registered with CITES.
The JKMSAE crocodile farm is open to tourists and other visitors who want to learn more about the crocodile industry.