The Kruger National Park (KNP) is selling a roomful of animal by-products from its Skukuza storehouses, with the bulk of the tender being more than 340 buffalo hides, weighing in excess of 10 tonnes. Also on sale are some elephant hides, feet and tails; hippo and warthog tusks; lion skins and skins from antelope like impala and kudu. According to Karen van Rooyen, manager of the Wildlife Products Processing Plant, the skins are being sold as they are taking up a lot of room and have been in storage for some time.
She says that the longer they stay in storage, the more likely it is that their condition will deteriorate. The money obtained from the sale of the products will be channelled back into conservation projects. The buffalo hides are largely obtained from research that has been ongoing into bovine tuberculosis in the park, while the other hides are usually from problem animals. Field rangers bring the tusks into Skukuza if they find them in the course of their patrols.
Hides are either initially salted in the field or by the processing plant. The park has obtained Cites (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Flora and Fauna) permission to sell the elephant products. The goods are divided into lots based on species, and interest has come from both those in the hide industry and traditional healers, who usually only want certain parts of the goods on tender.
Anyone taking the salted hides out of Kruger will need to obtain permits from nature conservation as many of the species are controlled by foot and mouth regulations. Site inspection for the tender will be on March 6, and commercial enquiries can be made to Elisa Makwa on 013 735 4214 or Karen van Rooyen for technical aspects on 013 735 5485.