If you feel confused of which souvenir from Papua to bring home, Papua crocodile leather goods can be a great option. The crocodile’s spiky leather pattern can definitely enhance your appearance. Also, one of the advantage is, it’s available in various fashion items such as bag, shoes, belt, wallet, golf bag, you can even customize your own fashion items.
Since long ago, crocodiles have already been a part of the papuan culture. It can be seen in some of the Papuan folklore where a crocodile are included as characters. They are also notable in the hunting culture where the Papuan people sometimes hunt the wild crocodiles because of the high population. Crocodiles are aplenty in the Papuan water area. The high population can cost lives as it can snatch kids or even adults when going too close and unaware of the crocodiles. From the hunt, the Papuan people will collect its leather, flesh, teeth, eggs, and bile.
More and more, Papua crocodile leather goods have gain its popularity and more demands come from the tourists. This makes the manufacture of crocodile based goods increased and the most popular one is Papua crocodile leather goods.
“Yes, the crocodile leather is beautiful because it has a 3D pattern. The crocodile’s skin itself has various patterns. The skin pattern on the crocodile’s back, on the head, the tail and the feet. Each of the pattern has their own uniqueness. That is the reason why crocodile leather goods, in this case Papua crocodile leather goods have a lot of demand, ” said Pardianto, the owner of Argo Boyo—Papua crocodile leather goods craftsmen in Timika, Papua.
The craftsmen collect crocodile leather supplies from the hunter and crocodile breeding center. The raw crocodile skin is valued at 35,000 IDR/inch and tanned or colored crocodile skin is valued at more or less 175,000-200,000 IDR/inch. Hence, this industry also helps the livelihood of the Papuan people.
While obtaining crocodile skin from the Papuan people, Pardianto is also in cooperation with the Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA) in Papua. Therefore, the products he produce are legally approved and each product will have BKSDA’s hologram to signify its validity.
There are several interesting things in the making of Papua crocodile leather goods. It is still home industry where the tanning process is done manually without modern machinery. However, they will only use the leather until they have refine the products to meet high standards.
The price of Papua crocodile leather goods are much cheaper than crocodile leather products from renowned brands. The range of price starts from hundreds of thousands to tens of millions of rupiah. Wallets and belts, for example, are sold at 300,000 IDR, shoes for 1.8 million IDR to 2 million IDR, and a lady handbag is sold at 2 million IDR to 2.5 million IDR.
Unfortunately, currently Papua crocodile leather goods are not yet exported. It’s not because there is no demand, but because of the limited natural resources. BKSDA puts a limit for the number of crocodiles that are allowed to be processed. Din Soleh, the craftsmen from Joyoboyo said that his company has the permit from BKSDA to process 250 crocodiles per year. With that amount, all of his products have always ran out of stock in the market. That’s why he can’t sell it abroad.
The same thing happened to Pardianto, a craftsmen from Argo Boyo. His products are also always sold out to domestic tourists and foreign tourists.
“I never thought of exporting, because in Indonesia alone all of the goods have been sold out and in high demand eventhough with a hight price. Many foreigners also buy our products. Especially because we are located in the Freeport area in Timika mining area which has many foreign tourists,” he said.
There are other ‘must have’ souvenirs from Papua that you should buy when you travel to Papua, such as delicacies, statues, Papuan batik and many more. Papua is indeed a rich place with abundance resources and beauty.