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  1. #1
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    Thai crocs feel bite as financial woes dull taste for luxury goods

    Thai crocs feel bite.


    A Thai worker at the Elite Thai Leather factory inspects a dyed crocodile skin

    SAMUT PRAKAN, Thailand (AFP) - At the Elite Thai Leather factory in Bangkok, craftsman contort tough Thai crocodile hides into any style of luxury handbag a fashion designer wants.

    Bright blue handbags made from the dyed rough hide with the intact crocodile head transformed into a clasp are a huge hit in Asia, while Europeans prefer their accessories made from the smoother skin from the reptile's belly.

    Luckily for all but the reptile itself, the ridge-headed, smooth-bellied Siamese crocodile meets both those needs and has helped send the Thai reptile hide industry rocketing.

    But despite its many qualities, even the tough-skinned Thai croc is not immune to the global financial slowdown, which has seen stock markets around the world plummet as consumers tighten their purse strings.

    Last year, Elite Thai Leather earned about 10 million baht (293,000 dollars) selling exotic leather products, said president Panotkorn Usaiphan.

    A Thai worker at the Elite Thai Leather factory glues handles to crocodile skin handbags

    Until late summer, the company's plans to earn the same this year seemed on target, he said, with orders between January and August "normal". But exports began to fall in September and October.

    As demand drops for crocodile handbags, shoes and even the meat of the reptile, those who raise the raw material are starting to feel the bite of a looming global recession.

    "My product is luxurious goods, so the global financial crisis has already affected my business for the past three to four months," says Arporn Samakit, of Sriracha Crocodile Farm, which exports about 3,600 croc skins each year. "My total sales in local and foreign markets have dropped to six to seven million baht per month, down from ten million baht per month. Next year is not likely to get better," she told AFP.

    Thailand's crocodile exports

    David Chiu, Thai Leathergoods Association president, said he expected all leather exports to drop up to ten percent next year on the back of financial woes.

    But although the credit crunch is prompting people to strike luxury handbags from their shopping lists, Kanya Amorntheerakul of Thailand's Department of Export Promotion says the industry can adapt. "Europe is down, but we try to gear for new markets," she said, citing fast-growing India and China as possible new customer bases.

    Between 2002-2006, Thailand's yearly exports of live Siamese crocodiles more than doubled, while exports of skins rose to 31,983, from 3,795, according to the United Nations Environment Programme's conservation monitoring centre.

    Exports of the animal's meat -- an increasingly popular exotic treat -- rose to nearly 400 tonnes in 2006, from about 25 tonnes (55,000 pounds) in 2002.

    Thailand has also managed to turn crocodiles into a comprehensive industry, starting at the farms that have been turned into tourist attractions.

    A Thai manager at the Elite Thai Leather factory carries dyed crocodile skins

    At the Samut Prakan Crocodile Farm and Zoo about 10 kilometres (6.2 miles) from Bangkok, tourists are entertained by musclemen who wrestle crocodiles to a thumping rock and roll backbeat. Just beyond the shows and trolley tours are some 60,000 crocs destined to become belts, bags and steaks. Indeed, Panotkorn's bright blue crocodile skin handbag once sunned itself in the enclosure of the Samut Prakarn farm.

    Although other crocodiles are reared in Thailand, the Siamese species accounts for 87 percent of the kingdom's crocodile skin exports and all of its crocodile meat exports. Before being transformed into a handbag or a belt, the Siamese crocodile is dark olive green dappled with black, three metres (about 10 feet) long, smaller and more docile than the saltwater variety also native to Thailand.

    Almost extinct in the wild and featured in only a few zoos around the world, the Siamese is almost exclusively found in the hundreds of small crocodile farms that dot the Mekong river.

    A Thai worker at the Elite Thai Leather factory gives the finishing touches to crocodile skin handbags


    The farms range from tiny, illegal family-owned operations to the sprawling Samut Prakan Zoo. The Siamese crocodile is also, apparently, tasty and healthy, and is often sold for novelty appeal in Europe and America. Fancy restaurants offer the reptile as an alternative to beef and several online companies offer Thai crocodile alongside zebra, springbok, kangaroo and other exotic edibles.

    "Crocodile meat is delicious -- no fat, no cholesterol," said Arporn. One British company charges 15 pounds (nearly 26 dollars) for a 290-gram (10.2-ounce) can of Thai-made crocodile curry -- and it is this sort of luxury that Thailand's crocodile trade is hoping can endure the financial crisis.

    The Smart Set: Thai crocs feel bite as financial woes dull taste for luxury goods - October 29, 2008
    Last edited by hillbilly; 01-11-2008 at 06:44 AM.

  2. #2
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    Somehow, the figure of 60,000 crocs conjures up an enormous amount of croc food per day. (I presume they eat fish)

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    What happens to the croc meat? ..Do they sell it to restaurants in Cairns?

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    Thailand Expat jandajoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Gentleman Scamp
    What happens to the croc meat? ..Do they sell it to restaurants in Cairns?
    yes, and elswhere. quite good really.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Gentleman Scamp View Post
    What happens to the croc meat? ..Do they sell it to restaurants in Cairns?
    You can buy it in Carrefour.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DrB0b View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by The Gentleman Scamp View Post
    What happens to the croc meat? ..Do they sell it to restaurants in Cairns?
    You can buy it in Carrefour.

    Sounds interesting, recipes anyone, - cook like chicken or steak?

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    Quote Originally Posted by mediamanbkk
    I presume they eat fish
    I think chicken would be more economical.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TizMe View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by mediamanbkk
    I presume they eat fish
    I think chicken would be more economical.
    If they each eat just 1 chicken a day that's 60,000 a day that's nearly 2 million chickens a month just for the farm at Samut Phrakarn

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    Quote Originally Posted by mediamanbkk View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by DrB0b View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by The Gentleman Scamp View Post
    What happens to the croc meat? ..Do they sell it to restaurants in Cairns?
    You can buy it in Carrefour.

    Sounds interesting, recipes anyone, - cook like chicken or steak?
    Carrefour, or at least the one I go to in CM, also sells Ostrich, Emu, and Wild Boar, all frozen.





















    About Crocodile Meat


    Crocodile is a white meat and its nutritional composition compares favourably with that of more traditional meats. It does tend to have a slightly higher cholesterol level than other meats.
    Crocodile meat has a delicate flavour and its taste can often be covered by the use of strong marinades. The fat should be trimmed, as it has an unpleasant taste.

    • Crocodile meat is low in fat and high in protein.
    • The choicest cuts of meat are the back-strap and tail fillet.

    How to Cook Crocodile Meat


    Crocodile is easy to prepare and cook. It is best cooked frozen as during any thawing process all the meat juices run out and the flavour is lost. It should be cooked for two minutes on either side and then allowed to stand for a few minutes. It is best served just cooked (in red meat terms, medium-rare). Do not use a large number of ingredients (other than herbs or spices) – no more than three is recommended. If frying, always use butter or olive oil as they will not impact a flavour that is unique or different. Do not use margarine as the hydrogenated fats can impact an unpleasant flavour and prevent you from using other dairy products such as cream in the recipe. Keep it plain and simple.
    The Above Post May Contain Strong Language, Flashing Lights, or Violent Scenes.

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    ^ Thanks for the info, I am slightly confused however as the original article states that there is no cholesterol but yours states that it has a higher cholesterol level than other meats. The original comment was made by a Thai so maybe lost in translation? I still tihnk that 60,000 crocs at just 1 farm is a lot to feed with chickens, fish or anything else

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    Quote Originally Posted by mediamanbkk View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by TizMe View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by mediamanbkk
    I presume they eat fish
    I think chicken would be more economical.
    If they each eat just 1 chicken a day that's 60,000 a day that's nearly 2 million chickens a month just for the farm at Samut Phrakarn
    I've heard that croc farms are the destination of many Govt rounded up soi dogs. The govt get rid of them, they're cheap & come in large quantities for the croc farms. Everyone's happy - apart from the dogs, that is.

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    Thailand Expat Texpat's Avatar
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    I had crocodile for dinner at a local restaurant Friday night.
    It was very spicy and served with white rice.

    The pieces of meat were small and filled with small, cartilidge-like bones. A real pain in the ass to eat.

    50 baht.

    Not nearly as good as the crocodile sausage I had in New Orleans many years ago.

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    ^^ Great story, poor dogs but I doubt if they could round up enough, still plenty of Soi dogs about everywhere, maybe crocs don't have to eat much?

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    I think it is cruel keeping all those crocs locked up. They should be released back into the river system like in the good old days

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    Quote Originally Posted by mediamanbkk View Post
    Somehow, the figure of 60,000 crocs conjures up an enormous amount of croc food per day. (I presume they eat fish)
    Interestingly enough, they didn't seem to mention what they feed the crocs....hmmm.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Texpat View Post
    I had crocodile for dinner at a local restaurant Friday night.
    It was very spicy and served with white rice.

    The pieces of meat were small and filled with small, cartilidge-like bones. A real pain in the ass to eat.

    50 baht.

    Not nearly as good as the crocodile sausage I had in New Orleans many years ago.
    Actually, croc filets are quite tasty and mild. Taking crocs here would be like eating most any "exotic" item. Thais will spice it up to no end you wouldn't even recognize what the hell you might be eating. Just nicely steamed or gently grilled. Has a nice flavour.

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    As a futures market might go, I would imagine that there has always been a demand for croc meat throughout Asia, less Farangville. Has the possibilities of being a mainstay here, if you can get around superstition aspects.

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    Thailand Expat jandajoy's Avatar
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    In Aus

    An adult croc, salty, will only eat about once a month in the wild. Most of the time they're just lying there waiting for tourists.

    In the farms, in Aus they have to rotate the feeding to give the jap,hun,brit etc etc tourists a show.

    Any dead carcass is good, but choocks are easiest.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jandajoy View Post
    In Aus

    An adult croc, salty, will only eat about once a month in the wild. Most of the time they're just lying there waiting for tourists.

    In the farms, in Aus they have to rotate the feeding to give the jap,hun,brit etc etc tourists a show.

    Any dead carcass is good, but choocks are easiest.
    Salties {sea going crocs} can grow into quite magnificent monsters....they're know to keep a territorial range as far as Aussie to Indonesia. The P.I. to Palau.

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    Thailand Expat jandajoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rural Surin
    they're know to keep a territorial range as far as Aussie to Indonesia
    I'd like to see a link for that please.

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    Lagoon Crocodile Farm - Thirty Australian Champions Shaping the future for rural Australia

    Crocodile meat sells for about $15 to $20 a kilogram. A first-grade skin is worth about $600, and a good crocodile yields about $700 for a farmer .

    Some good info about Croc Farming in Oz.

    It seems that crocs don't really eat all that much (because they are cold blooded).

    In this place they feed them Kangaroo, cheap and available in large quantity.

    I think that as NR says, the unwanted dogs are an obvious substitute for Roo in Thailand.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rural Surin View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by jandajoy View Post
    In Aus

    An adult croc, salty, will only eat about once a month in the wild. Most of the time they're just lying there waiting for tourists.

    In the farms, in Aus they have to rotate the feeding to give the jap,hun,brit etc etc tourists a show.

    Any dead carcass is good, but choocks are easiest.
    Salties {sea going crocs} can grow into quite magnificent monsters....they're know to keep a territorial range as far as Aussie to Indonesia. The P.I. to Palau.

    So is 60,000 crocs in Samut Phrakan farm a reasonable number to believe?

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    Thailand Expat jandajoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mediamanbkk
    So is 60,000 crocs in Samut Phrakan farm a reasonable number to believe?

    Quite possible. 55,000 little tiny wriggly things.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TizMe
    In Oz they feed them Kangaroo
    QLD and NT farms that i've been involved with tend to go with chickens on a monthly turn around.

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    Not meant in a nasty way but..... Do the dogs get fed to them alive?

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