Fashionable people say no to shahtoosh shawls
The only reason why cheru is so ruthlessly persecuted is that its fur unfortunately yields the highest quality of wool.india Updated: Mar 17, 2004 01:08 IST
If the Tibetan people, as a nation, have to take up cudgels against the occupation of their country by a larger and more powerful neighbour, there also exists a native animal species in the country - the Tibetan antelope - which perforce has to wage a last ditch-battle against its very extermination at the hands of a more formidable foe - the international poacher.
The only reason why this animal is so ruthlessly persecuted is that its fur unfortunately yields the highest quality of wool ever known to man.
The Tibetan antelope, Pantholops hodgsoni, also known as the 'chiru,' is now found only in the remote plateaus of Tibet, and the Xinjiang and Qinghai provinces of China. It is estimated that the chiru population ran into several million at the turn of the 20th century, during which time they were also known to converge in the valleys of northern Ladakh, but their population has now alarmingly dropped to less than 75,000 today.
Wildlife biologists and conservationists aver that chiru are currently being illegally hunted at the rate of 20,000 a year for their wool, commonly known as 'shahtoosh' (king of wools, in Persian).