Snow leopards latest fashion victim

Study reveals snow leopards are under threat from cashmere trade. Will they become fashion’s latest victims?


Snow_Leopard_-Taronga_Zoo-8aA new study has revealed that one of the world’s most beautiful mammals are under threat due to a booming cashmere trade.

According to a study in Conservation Biology, demand for the luxurious fiber has driven up the numbers of wool-producing goats in the remote highlands and steppes of Central Asia. This is the natural territory of the snow leopard, and has put them in direct conflict with herders and dogs, who retaliate when the goat herd is attacked.

The increase in goats has also meant a decrease in forage supplies, which affects other native animals. This includes yaks, antelopes, Przewalski’s horses and other rare species.

Peter Zahler of the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) told Ecouterre: “In the absence of commitment across global and local scales, the iconic wildlife of the world’s highest mountains and great steppes will cease to persist as they have for millennia. Rather than serving as symbols of success, these species will become victims of fashion,”

WCS is working with the Responsible Ecosystems Sourcing Platform, a public-private partnership that tackles sustainability issues in the fashion, cosmetics, and jewelery supply chains.

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