by WorldTribune Staff, November 29, 2016
Crocodiles have been roaming Egypt for millions of years. Cairo’s leaders figured it was about time they cashed in on it.
Egyptian Environment Minister Khalid Fahmi outlined a plan to export crocodiles as a new source of foreign currency for a country whose tourist industry has suffered after major terror attacks.
Egypt’s foreign currency reserves have dwindled from their peak of 36 billion dollars in 2010 to 19 billion in October of this year.
“I am convinced that investment in crocodile breeding has economic returns as one crocodile now sells for $400,” Fahmi told the parliament’s Environment Committee on Nov. 27. “There is a global demand for the Nile crocodile because of its high-quality skin.”
Fahmi said a site has been designated for breeding crocodiles in Lake Nasser behind the high dam in Upper Egypt where there are an estimated 3,000 crocodiles at present.
“The problem of the excessive number of crocodiles in Lake Nasser can be turned into economic benefits,” Fahmi said. “The Environment Ministry has drawn up a national program for the breeding of the Nile crocodiles in Egypt.”
The Nile crocodile is the largest in Africa and generally regarded as the world’s second-largest after the saltwater crocodile. The average size of the Nile crocodile ranges from 4.5 meters to 5.5 meters.
Fahmi said that Egypt’s potential export of the Nile crocodile has become possible after the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), an inter-governmental pact aimed at protecting wild animals and plants, approved trade in crocodiles under certain restrictions.
“CITES no longer prohibits Egypt from exporting the Nile crocodile. But until now, unlike other African countries, Egypt has not got an export quota because we have no experience in breeding crocodiles,” Fahmi said.