Nile Crocodiles Limited, We use a unique approach to sustainable crocodile farming which produces our classic ‘Veblen’ crocodile skin.
We combine innovative rearing techniques based on sound scientific approaches, with a strong focus on ethical principles which include adhering to all the animal welfare best practices. All our farming methods are at the forefront of the industry, together with being environmentally and ecologically sustainable, we also ensure that the local communities benefit. The documented systems and procedures we use are all traceable and are regularly rigorously audited.
Nile Crocodiles Ltd., uses many of the principles used in the early work of my father Dr Rene Haller, a UNEP global 500 laureate for outstanding contribution to the environment. He is renowned for the rehabilitation of industrial wasteland left bare by limestone mining, transforming it into a self-sustaining natural ecosystem – and tropical paradise known as the Haller Park. His use of organic and environmentally friendly solutions to all of the challenges he faced in the rehabilitation and other agricultural enterprises inspired me to pursue a career in Aquaculture. In which I qualified with an MSc in Aquaculture, from Stirling University in Scotland.
Nile Crocodiles Ltd was established in 1996 – sited in Kikambala 25 km North of Mombasa, Kenya in partnership with the late Harun Muturi Njee. The site selection is key to its success, being selected due to its unique limestone aquifer, which holds an abundance of high quality crystal clear water.
Our business is driven at the core by strong ethical and environmental principles which support both local grassroot communities along the Tana River and through ethical and fair practices in the workplace making us also an employer of choice.
Nile Crocodiles Ltd., sources a larger percentage of its crocodile eggs through grassroot community collection programmes on the Tana River. With the human population increasing in Kenya, more and more people are moving to water sources and rivers in an attempt to etch out a living from agriculture. This puts them into direct conflict with the natural crocodile populations.
We work closely with the Orma, Wardei and Pokomo tribes who live around the Tana Delta, and have done so over the last 20 plus years. Teaching them the benefits of crocodile conservation, training them in the sustainable seasonal crocodile egg collection, and in ecosystem conservation. Showing them the importance of crocodile populations to the ecosystem, and their importance as a sustainable resource.
The grassroots communities are all fully integrated in our farming operations. Once trained they are paid for the eggs they collect. To ensure best practices are followed they are incentivised by receiving a bonus on the percentage of hatchlings which hatch per nest. The higher the bonus the higher the nest hatchability. Making sure that the delicate eggs are collected and handled correctly with standards kept high, so the resource is maximised. This has helped change the traditional relationship between the communities and the crocodiles and reducing human/wildlife conflict along the river.
Additionally together with the Haller Foundation, whose goals are to enable communities to improve livelihoods in a way that is sustainable and environmentally sound, we support sustainable agricultural and fishing programmes, small microfinance projects such as beekeeping programmes, we build drinking water wells moving people away from traditional river water collection and crocodile conflict, improved their sanitary facilities by installing Eco Sanitary Facilities (ESF,). We have also installed solar panels, and portable solar lights to provide light in schools and community centres, also giving pupils the opportunity to learn longer during the cooler periods at night. We recently lead a major project to improve maternal health in the area by building a maternity clinic. Prior to this women in the Tana river had to walk 25 km to the nearest clinic. The maternal death rate in Kenya is amongst the highest in the world because of a lack of access to maternity clinics. The clinic serves over 2000 people.
Our ethos is also reflected in practice at the workplace with a family-style management approach to employees, each employee has an annual development program (internal and external trainers) which includes training on the farms 80+ SOP’s. They are encouraged to take ownership and responsibility in their roles. They also manage their own welfare and cooperative society and we offer a microfinancing scheme so that they are able to start small businesses outside the workplace. The company also provides its employees with free meals, both during the morning and lunch break.
These practices together with some of the following; strong design elements, good biosecurity, animals all being microchipped (to be in control performance and health), in-house high quality formulated diet, (it is sterile, contains no antibiotics or microbials, we have direct control of all source ingredients), automated environmental sensory monitoring controls (ensuring all animals are always kept under the correct environmental conditions at all stages of production), increased use of solar as main energy source, water quality and usage is monitored and controlled, the farms waste is recycled, and presently a program is being designed to enable the recycling of all farm effluent. All these combined is what produces our ‘Veblen’ Crocodile skins.
The ‘Veblen’ skins produced by Nile Crocodiles Ltd are supplied solely to LVMH (Moët Hennessy – Louis Vuitton) and to its own luxury accessories brand;
All the raw skins are tanned by LVMH’s recently acquired top quality tannery Heng Long Leather (PVT) Ltd., based in Singapore.
As its’ first and only exotic leather tannery, Heng Long Leather has been granted the Leather Working Group (LWG) certification since 2017 because of its respect of the environment and the working conditions offered to its teams.
Their exquisite tanning formulations have been developed over the last 3 generations by the ‘Master Tanners’ i.e. the KOH family. This knowledge and the acquired techniques create the world’s most irresistible crocodile leather, which is sought after by all the top luxury fashion houses.
LVMH and the tannery has been working with the partner crocodile farms, along with scientists and veterinary experts to improve the conditions for breeding crocodilians. The results of these research projects and the texts of the Crocodile Specialist Group of IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) form the basis for the new LVMH Crocodilian Production Standard. The audit protocol was created by a committee of world-renowned experts, including NSF International, which led and facilitated the process based on its expertise in developing livestock production requirements.
Thus, LVMH ensures that any raw crocodilian skin it purchases are grown to the highest of standards with the best conditions know to date and that all the animal welfare principals on farms are respected (handling, veterinary intervention on-site, quality of living space and feeding etc..), on top of this ensuring that there 100% traceability of the product they use back to the farms. By the end of 2020 LVMH will no longer purchase any crocodilian skins, from any farms which have not been Certified i.e. passed the independent audit.
To date less than ten crocodilian farms that supply Heng Long Leather worldwide have been certified by NSF International. Nile Crocodiles Ltd., was amongst the first.
In September 2019, Nile Crocodiles Ltd underwent its comprehensive audit by NSF. The audit was passed with ‘Flying Colours’ and on top of this Nile Crocodiles Ltd achieved an Advanced Level Certification, with a GOLD Status. Nile Crocodiles Ltd., is committed and will undergo this audit every 18 months.
The GOLD rating indicates that amongst other very strict husbandry and social conditions over 90% of the Industries Best Practices are daily being used by Nile Crocodiles.
Over the next 18 months, the farm will embark on becoming Carbon Neutral and ISO 14 001 certified. It will also recycle all of its production waste inhouse, and further it aims also to recycling all of its discharge water.
Daniel T Haller, BSc., MSc.
Nile Crocodiles Limited
P.O. Box 10065
Tel: +254 722 204859
© Nile Crocodiles Limited.
Design: Studio 108 UK