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Meet Mr Fur – HATEM YAVUZ

The amount of value added to seal skins as a fur product, is beyond belief. All these different faux pas furs are actually based on real fur - that of the Cape Fur Seal. Seal skins come from seals harvested from the colonies along the Namibian coastline. From a population of well over one million animals, the seal trade removes some 80,000 animals annually. The cull has no effect on overall numbers.

The amount of value added to seal skins as a fur product, is beyond belief. All these different faux pas furs are actually based on real fur – that of the Cape Fur Seal. Seal skins come from seals harvested from the colonies along the Namibian coastline. From a population of well over one million animals, the seal trade removes some 80,000 animals annually. The cull has no effect on overall numbers.

The worldwide debate about the Namibian seal cull attracts much attention in conservation circles. Frequently the name of Hatem Yavuz features in the propaganda war. As the main fur trader and buyer of seal skins from Namibian sources, Namibia Seal Conservation interviewed Mr Yavuz to find out more about his role in the fur trade.
Yavuz is the Namibian Honorary Consul to Turkey. This has little to do with his fur trade but it shows his standing with the Namibian government.
Yavuz who is of Turkish descent grew up in Australia where he obtained a degree in International Trade, Australian Law, and British Rule in Hong Kong. As a young entrepreneur he was instrumental in developing valuable products from the then valueless Australian kangaroo skins, and as a result he can boast that David Beckham was the first of many soccer players now wearing boots made from kangaroo skin. Despite the current problematic scenario in Namibia , Yavuz is of the opinion that the market for local seal products can be expanded.
With large investments of his own in the sealing companies in Namibia, he built this industry from scratch. Today he holds contracts with the permit holders who have concessions to harvest seals. He has developed seal products which are now in worldwide demand.
Yavuz does not trade only in seal, but his factory also processes and sells various other boutique skins and furs as fashion items. He has recently received an offer to take over the American mink and otter trade as well. He is today considered and recognised as the number one boutique furrier in the world. He estimates his market share at about 85% of the segment.
Unbeknown to most is that he painstakingly discovered and developed a procedure to alter the fibres of the seal skin and fur, enabling him to produce skins which simulate the fur of other animals for instance leopard, zebra and even python.
Yavuz says he specifically designed these faux pas skins based on real fur, to prevent further trade on the world markets of these endangered species.
Yavuz emphasises that he only deals with countries which respect international laws and treaties regarding the trade in skins and fur. Despite the poor international economy, he says the demand for seal products has shown a tremendous growth during the last few years.
Since discovering Namibia in the late 90’s, Yavuz fell in love with its people and its awesome fauna and flora. As a staunch supporter of Namibia and its people and in the absence of historical ties between Namibia and Turkey, decided to take it upon himself to promote Namibia in Turkey as a tourist destination. He was also instrumental in establishing a Turkish consulate in Namibia. He says he is negotiating with Turkish Air, the third largest passenger liner in Europe, to consider a scheduled flight between the two countries.

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