Alligator hides are one of the most
valuable exotic “leathers” in the world.
In Louisiana, whose bayous are teeming with alligators, Lonza Water
Treatment is helping several premiere alligator farms sanitize the water in
their raising pens with our Constant Chlor™ Plus MC4-50 systems and calcium hypochlorite
briquettes. The constant supply of clean water helps
protect the alligators and their hides from bacteria that can damage and
discolor the hides, reducing their value at market.
hides are sold to companies that transform them into watch bands, boots, belts,
pocketbooks and other high-end fashion items.
As exemplified by Lonza’s Louisiana customers,
large-scale alligator farming is a highly sophisticated, scrupulously regulated,
commercialized operation. That’s not to say that gator farming is not without
its wild side -- especially during egg harvest during June and
early July, when freshly laid alligator eggs are collected out in the marshes. Farm workers locate the nests, often by helicopter,
mark their exact location using GPS units, and then return by airboat to
collect some of the eggs by hand.
“This is the most dangerous time for us, when we’re collecting
the eggs,” one farm owner says. “Female alligators are very protective of their
eggs, and they’re almost always somewhere near their nests, but you don’t
always see them.”
The eggs are brought back to the farm where they are incubated,
hatched, and the gators grown to four to six feet in length for their hides. The gator farmers we serve return a percentage
of their animals back to the wild under the state’s alligator ranching program,
helping sustain this unique natural resource.
One farm alone can house more than 120,000 gators indoors in a
sealed, highly controlled environment. Thousands
of pens, each holding approximately 80 gators, are housed in multiple barns at several
locations. Inside the pens the feisty animals are fed daily and water
temperature is highly regulated. The barns are kept dark to reduce
environmental stress on the animals.
The water used in the pens is drawn from artisanal wells and
then sanitized by our feeder systems. One long-time customer recently installed
two of Lonza Water Treatment’s innovative new Constant Chlor™ Plus MC4-50 Lite
dry calcium hypochlorite systems. They
keep the pen water sanitized at all times, with the fill water chlorinated to 3
parts per million (ppm).
The new Lite units feature
patented spray technology to prepare and automatically deliver a consistently
accurate dose of liquid available chlorine for disinfection. The MC4-50 system
is able to deliver from 1 to 50 lbs. of available chlorine (AvCL) per day on a
sustained basis. Constant Chlor® briquettes are top-loaded into the feed system’s
62-lb. capacity hopper