If you’ve been yearning for snakeskin boots or an ostrich skin leather belt obtained at a cut rate, banish any thoughts of going through a sleazy black-market dealer. The U.S. government will sell you the goods legally. Starting this week, for the next several months the Fish and Wildlife Service is auctioning off more than 300,000 confiscated or abandoned wildlife products. This lady's Siberian weasel fur full length coat, for instance is going for $105.
The agency is looking to make some quick cash and clear space in its National Wildlife Property Repository in Denver, Colorado. The funds will go toward conservation education, paying to care for live animals FWS seizes, and ponying up rewards for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of wildlife criminals.
Most of the products are reptilian leather goods made from common snake and lizard skin or seashell or coral jewelry and home décor items. Here’s a sample of what’s on the block at Lone Star Auctioneers right now:
-Fendi lady’s brown mink hand bag with brown metallic python snakeskin trim: $65
-3 pair women’s dark blue satin high-heel shoes & sandals with water snake skin trim, Shanghai Tang: $45
-Lady’s Cartier off-white Monitor lizard skin watchstrap: $10
-12 pairs of men’s full quill ostrich skin leather cowboy boots: $210
The FWS has the authority to sell the goods, and it’s the second such auction it’s held (the first was in 1999). “The auction inventory does not include any items made from endangered and threatened species, migratory birds, marine mammals, and species listed under Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES),” the agency said in a press release.
However, some items made from species listed in CITES Appendix II might be auctioned off. Some of these species—not necessarily included in the sale—include Mexican bighorn sheep, fennec fox, Zebra Duiker, and hippopotamus.
If you’re fostering a hope that you can finally purchase a hippo, you’re out of luck. No live animals are being sold.