Thursday, March 20, 2014

a deadly fashion

Excerpt from the book Tibet Wild by George B. Schaller

If the estimated average of 20,000 slaughtered chiru a year represents the correct order of magnitude, then 180,000 died between 1990 and 1998. The 1,100 kg of confiscated wool translates to about 11,000 chiru, based on about ten chiru hides per kilogram of wool. This figure, added to the 17,000 confiscated hides, totals 28,000 chiru. It is unlikely that more than 10-15 percent of the hides and wool in the trade are intercepted by police, making the official kill estimate very conservative. Looking at the annual shawl production in Kashmir during these years, one estimate is 5,000 to 11,000 shawls. There are roughly three chiru per shawl, so a total of 15,000 to 33,000 chiru died each year to support the deadly fashion. These crude calculations indicate, then, that at least 250,000 to 300,000 chiru died during the 1990s. 

I am shocked! When I watched the documentary 'Kekexili - Mountain Patrol' couple of years ago, I saw the chiru slaughter in action. Well, only those who enjoy wearing those shahtoosh shawls will know how comfortable they are wearing bodies of three chiru draped over their shoulders. Isn't it a shroud? 

Chiru is a antelope native to Tibet. Less than 75000 individuals are left in the wild, down from a million.


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