Ying Ying the Chiru (Tibetan Antelope), try not to buy shahtoosh

Ying Ying is a Chiru (Pantholops hodgsonii, aka Tibetan Antelope). You can find all you need to know about at this site (also in WWF)
  • It can be found at elevations from 3250 - 5500 m (10,660 - 18,000 ft)
  • IUCN Status:
    2003 - 2004: Endangered (Criteria: A2d) (Population Trend: Decreasing) (IUCN 2004)
  • Population Estimates:
    [wild populations only] WORLD
    1950 - 60: 500,000 - 1,000,000
    (IUCN 2000a)
    1993: Probably exceeds 100,000 (East 1993)
    1998: Perhaps fewer than 75,000 (Schaller 1998)
    2000: Could be as low as 65,000 - 75,000 (IUCN 2000a)
    2001: Less than 75,000 (Mallon & Kingswood 2001)

  • Threats and Reasons for Decline:
    Poaching is the most serious threat to the chiru. It is being slaughtered illegally by the thousands for its wool (actually, the underfur of the chiru), which is known in the international market as "shahtoosh" or "king of wool." Shahtoosh is considered to be one of the finest animal fibers in the world and, since the 1980s, expensive shahtoosh shawls and scarves have become high fashion status symbols in the West, selling for as much as $10,000 each. Several chirus are killed to provide wool for a single shawl. (Collection of the underfur causes the death of the chiru.) Wool is smuggled from Tibet mainly to Kashmir in India, where it is woven into an extremely fine fabric from which the shawls and scarves are woven. Although the chiru is protected in China, it is still legal to weave shahtoosh in India.
They are beautiful animals. China has been protecting it agressively since 1990s and the population has been able to stay at 75,000 in the wild. But they are still endangered. Please use pashmina and cashmere shawls and scarves, and try not to buy shahtoosh. They feel just as fine, except they are a little more sticky than shahtoosh. Please help her uphill ride for survival.

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