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herd of shahtoosh antelope
The Endangered Tibetan Antelope

Never heard of it?  Neither had I until I saw a National Geographic post on facebook.  Yes, it is a Tibetan antelope.

Why is it endangered? Because people are killing it to use the wool to make scarves and shawls.  It is a wild animal and humans have been unable to domesticate it, so instead of shearing or combing as they do the kasmir goats, they kill it!  It takes four – yes four ! – animals to make just one shahtoosh shawl or scarf!  The antelope was listed for CITES protection in 1979.

Shahtoosh weaving was once a highly respected craft and is culture entrenched.  It can take years to weave a shawl and westerners will pay up to $20,000 for one.

wool from shahtoosh antelope

The article goes on to explain how customs officials have seized the equivalent of more than 800 Tibtan shahtoosh antelopes from the necks or luggage of travellers from mainly Italy, Germany, the United Kingdom and the Middle East between 2015 and 2018.  

A lot is being done towards stopping this trade and protecting the antelope.  On the scale of environmentally friendly / sustainable fabrics and fashion this is firmly at the bottom end of the scale!

tibetan shahtoosh antelope

Here is a link to the National Geographic article itself….

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