Measures to Protect the Tibetan Antelope Under the CITES Framework
15 Pages Posted: 12 Mar 2007
The unique and beautiful Tibetan antelope, or chiru, is in imminent danger of extinction from illegal hunting. At current rates of hunting, the species may be extinct in the wild within two years. The chiru is hunted for its underfur, which is used to make a very fine wool called "shahtoosh." The problem is international: Chiru are hunted in China and their fur is smuggled to India and other countries, where it is made in shahtoosh and resold throughout the world. Efforts to protect the chiru have focused on the supply side, through enforcement of Chinese laws against hunting, and on the demand side, through efforts to outlaw the international shahtoosh trade and educate the public as to its environmental costs. Anti-hunting efforts face difficulty because of the large size and extreme remoteness of the chiru's range; government efforts are aided by grass-roots anti-poaching patrols. Anti-shahtoosh-trade efforts were impeded for many years by the continuing legality of the shahtoosh trade in the Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir. The trade is now illegal there and in most of the world, but continues.
Keywords: Tibetan antelope, chiru, shahtoosh, Tibet, Kekexili, international environmental law, endangered species, CITES, hunting, poaching, China, India
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