Contribution to Conservation & Biodiversity

Contribution to Conservation & Biodiversity

The South African Crocodile Industry Association (SACIA) and ELSA presently represent the interests of the crocodile industry. SACIA was established in 2015 and is the formal representative of the crocodile industry across the entire value chain, including farmers, beneficiators (tanners, manufacturers, service providers) and scientists. SACIA aims are primarily to promote the interests of the Nile crocodile products industry in South Africa and to ensure the sustainable and ethical production of crocodile products harvested from the Nile crocodile from commercial crocodile farms. It also inter alia strives to promote the protection and conservation of wild Nile crocodile populations in South Africa and to collaborate with communities that live near waterbodies where wild crocodiles occur, by providing skills development and job creation in crocodile related businesses. A Charter that outlines the code of conduct of SACIA members and code of farming practices has been approved by SACIA.

Exotic Leather SA (ELSA), is a non-profit organisation and developing agency that is mainly funded through grants received from the South African government. It aims to develop the South African Exotic Leather industry (Nile crocodile and Ostrich) through, inter alia developing industry standards and benchmarks; ensuring sustainability of the industry through scientific research aiming to develop production models; building supply chain capacity; improving accountability; and ensuring compliance and reporting to the regulated environment and industry stakeholders. The development  of traceability systems spanning from crocodile production through to tanning, meat processing, manufacture and retail has been at the forefront of interventions undertaken by ELSA.  The traceability Information technology system  encompasses a National Crocodile Industry Register (NCIR) that aims to collect information required for traceability, research and reporting across the value chain and includes  modules for research, husbandry, grading, slaughter, tannery, manufacture and retail. The Information collected by the system will be able to provide an independent verification on the  origin of products throughout the crocodile industry value chain. A nascent ELSA certification scheme for crocodile farms is being developed for implementation in South Africa to monitor on the compliance of the South African Standards for crocodile farming. ELSA has established a Certification Standard Committee representing important industry stakeholders to manage the certification development process. Standards for and certification of tanneries and manufacture facilities will follow as soon as the crocodile farming certification project has been finalised.

As part of the crocodile industry’s contribution to research and conservation, ELSA facilitated the establishment of, and funds the ELRC at the University Pretoria. ELRC  has established a research and diagnostic capacity for crocodiles in South Africa and the Region and has already achieved international recognition. ELSA’s  financial support resulted in the hosting of the 24th working meeting of the IUCN CSG that was held in Skukuza in 2016.  More than 340 delegates from 42 countries attended this prestigious event which returned to South Africa after 43 years, since the hosting of the  2nd working meeting having been held at Ndumu Game Reserve in 1973.  ELRC also  contributed extensively to the organisation and proceedings of the CSG working meeting during the conference.