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Most hated lizard to become handbags

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Sign of bad luck in Thailand, with 3 million living, monitor lizard no longer endangered so soon to be used for leather in handbags & wallets. 



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Economics

Monitors: Protected, Then Hunted

27/06/2012
Nanchanok Wongsamuth

Who would have thought that the reptile most hated in Thai society, taken as a jinx bringing us bad luck, might end up as something useful in people's daily lives?

Leather made from water monitor lizards is expected to be commercially manufactured over the next two years after the reptile is taken off the list of preserved species, according to the chairman of the Thai Leather Association.

There are fewer than 500,000 cows in Thailand against as many as 3 million monitor lizards, which have a unique skin pattern considered by many to be more beautiful than the plainer cowhide, said Somkiaet Bongkotpannarai.

The water monitor (Varanus salvator) is on the list of preserved animals under the Forestry Department, making it illegal to hunt the species.

Mr Somkiaet said leather made from monitor lizard skin has a 50% lower cost than crocodile skin, as monitors can eat anything and are easy to breed.

The skin can be used to produce anything from a 10,000-baht pair of boots to a 2,000-baht wallet. While a leather wallet could be sold at the same price for both crocodile and monitor lizard skin, the latter would make a higher profit, said Mr Somkiaet, also a consultant at Sky Leather Co Ltd.

But if it is commercially manufactured, the name should be changed from tua hia or 'varanus' to 'salvator', which sounds better.

"Therefore, if you want to become rich, you should start to stockpile monitor lizards," he said jokingly, adding that in future the country will sell the skin overseas for both food and leather.

Mr Somkiaet said the overall leather market has been hit by the rise in prices for raw materials. Thailand currently must import cows and buffalo from the Philippines, India and Vietnam.

The value of the domestic leather market this year should reach 7-8 billion baht, up from 5-6 billion last year, while exports of leather goods are estimated at US$2 billion, up by 9% from last year.

In a related development, the 30th Bangkok International Fashion Fair and Bangkok International Leather Fair will run from today until Sunday at Impact Muang Thong Thani.

(Source: Bangkok Post, Economics, Monitors: Protected, Then Hunted, 27/06/2012, Nanchanok Wongsamuth, link


Leather Industry Vocabulary
 
leather - a strong material made from animal skin used for making shoes, clothes, bags, covering for seats, etc. หนัง, หนังสัตว์ (See Wikipedia)

reptile - animals such as lizards, snakes, turtles, crocodiles that are cold-blooded with body covered in hard scales and give birth to young in eggs  สัตว์เลื้อยคลาน (See Wikipedia)

lizard - a reptile with a long tail and rough skin that lives in hot places  สัตว์เลื้อยคลานจำพวก Lacertilia (Sauria) ได้แก่ จิ้งจก,ตุ๊กแก,จิ้งเหลน,กิ้งก่า,เหี้ย,แย้,หนังของสัตว์ดังกล่าว (See Wikipedia)

monitor lizards - large reptiles with long necks, powerful tails and claws, and well-developed limbs, most live on land but some also live in trees and water, they are meat eaters  and lay "from seven to 37 eggs, which they often cover with soil or protect in a hollow tree stump" (See Wikipedia)

water monitor (Varanus salvator) -
"a large species of monitor lizard capable of growing to 3.21 metres ... in length, with the average size of most adults at 1.5 metres .... long. Maximum weight of Varanus salvator can be over 25 kilograms ..., but most are half that size. Their body is muscular with a long, powerful, laterally compressed tail. Water monitors are one of the most common monitor lizards found throughout Asia, and range from [Thailand] Sri Lanka, India, Indochina, the Malay Peninsula and various islands of Indonesia, living in areas close to water" ตัวเงินตัวทอง, เหี้ย, วรนัส หรือ วรนุส หรือ วรนุช (See Wikipedia and Thai Wikipedia)
water monitor lizard

crocodile - a large reptile that lives in the water in hot countries and has a long body and many sharp teeth (See Wikipedia)
crocodile skin - the skin of the crocodile is used to make expensive shoes and bags

preserved - kept something as it is, especially in order to prevent it from decaying or being damaged or destroyed ซึ่งปกป้องไว้ kept in good condition, not damaged or destroyed คงอยู่, สงวนไว้

species - a set of animals or plants in which the members have similar characteristics to each other and can breed with each other พันธ์,จำพวก
preserved species
protected species

list of preserved species
taken off the list of preserved species

endangered species
- animals or plants that are few in number and may soon disappear completely (See Wikipedia)

who would have thought ...  - it is a very surprising thing that no one would ever think of ...

jinx - something or someone that causes bad luck; a supernatural force

expected - believe will happen คาดว่า (จะเกิดขึ้น)
commercially manufactured - a good made in a factory for future sale

Who would have thought that the reptile most hated in Thai society, taken as a jinx bringing us bad luck, might end up as something useful in people's daily lives? Leather made from water monitor lizards is expected to be commercially manufactured over the next two years after the reptile is taken off the list of preserved species, according to the chairman of the Thai Leather Association.

unique - very special and different from other things, unusual or good ที่มีลักษณะพิเศษ เป็นเอกลักษณ์
unique skin pattern

hide
- the skin of an animal used to make leather
cowhide - the strong skin of a cow used to make leather

illegal - against the law ผิดกฎหมาย, นอกกฎหมาย
illegal to hunt the species

There are fewer than 500,000 cows in Thailand against as many as 3 million monitor lizards, which have a unique skin pattern considered by many to be more beautiful than the plainer cowhide, said Somkiaet Bongkotpannarai. The water monitor (Varanus salvator) is on the list of preserved animals under the Forestry Department, making it illegal to hunt the species.

breed - raise animals for the purpose of producing more animals เพาะเลี้ยง
easy to breed

Mr Somkiaet said leather made from monitor lizard skin has a 50% lower cost than crocodile skin, as monitors can eat anything and are easy to breed.

wallet - a small flat case that people keep money, bank cards, and small documents in and usually carry in their pocket or bag กระเป๋าขนาดเล็กที่ทำจากหนังหรือพลาสติก
profit - money that you make from selling goods and services after all your costs have been paid กำไร

consultant - an expert professional person whose job is to help people by giving advice in some area (See Wikipedia)
stockpile - store large amounts of something for future use จำนวนสินค้าที่เก็บตุนไว้เป็นจำนวนมาก

The skin can be used to produce anything from a 10,000-baht pair of boots to a 2,000-baht wallet. While a leather wallet could be sold at the same price for both crocodile and monitor lizard skin, the latter would make a higher profit, said Mr Somkiaet, also a consultant at Sky Leather Co Ltd. But if it is commercially manufactured, the name should be changed from tua hia or 'varanus' to 'salvator', which sounds better.  "Therefore, if you want to become rich, you should start to stockpile monitor lizards," he said jokingly, adding that in future the country will sell the skin overseas for both food and leather.

raw  materials - materials in their natural state before being processed or used in manufacturing

import
- to buy or bring in products from another country นำเข้า
import cows from the Philippines

Mr Somkiaet said the overall leather market has been hit by the rise in prices for raw materials. Thailand currently must import cows and buffalo from the Philippines, India and Vietnam.

domestic - within the country ภายในประเทศ
domestic leather market

in a related development ... -
something connected, linked or related to the story but not really part of the story ....

The value of the domestic leather market this year should reach 7-8 billion baht, up from 5-6 billion last year, while exports of leather goods are estimated at US$2 billion, up by 9% from last year. In a related development, the 30th Bangkok International Fashion Fair and Bangkok International Leather Fair will run from today until Sunday at Impact Muang Thong Thani.

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