Trading Tibetan antelope cashmere shawls?
The return of the shahtoosh shawl, known as the disaster of the Tibetan antelope? The Paper has noticed that some people have recently sold shahtoosh, a Tibetan takin cashmere shawl, through multiple e-commerce platforms and social networks, with prices up to hundreds of thousands of yuan. The Tibetan antelope is the first class protected animal in China. It is a crime to sell, buy or use the antelope itself and its products.
A search for “tooth” on an online shopping platform reveals a large number of products, such as “Kashmiri handmade takins” shawls, with prices ranging from thousands to hundreds of thousands. The footage of the suspected merchants’ live broadcast showed that some anchors stressed to netizens that their shawls used “old materials of more than seven years”, “high precision” and “295,000 yuan, which is really good cost performance”. Most of these shawls are sold with keywords such as “TOOSH” and “T fabric”. At the same time, sellers can also see advertisements to share with buyers on a social media platform.
It remains to be investigated whether the shawls are actually made of Tibetan takins. But it is clear that, true or not, doing so is illegal.
On the one hand, Tibetan antelopes are under first-class state protection. The Wildlife Protection Law clearly stipulates that the sale, purchase or use of wildlife under state special protection and their products are prohibited. On the other hand, even if it is fake, it not only constitutes fraud, but also challenges and misleads the concept of wildlife protection. At present, the platform has said that it will investigate, but the “Shatoosh” related sales activities such as live streaming of stores are still going on.
According to public reports, shahtoosh shawls made of Tibetan takins’ cashmere are recognized as the finest and softest shawls in the world. However, on the other side of its “luxury”, a large number of Tibetan antelopes were bloodily massacred by poachers and were nearly wiped out. CCTV reports from previous years have shown that each shahtoosh shawl was woven at the cost of the lives of several Tibetan antelopes.
For example, a shawl-shawl for women needs about 300 to 400 grams of cashmere, which means sacrificing the lives of three Tibetan antelope. A man’s shawl can be exchanged for five Tibetan antelopes. Due to its “high cost”, a shahtoosh shawl was previously sold for up to $16,000 in the European and American markets.
Where there is no buying, there is no killing. Huge interest temptation, will naturally lead to the desperate risk of poachers. At one point in the 1990s, the number of Tibetan antelopes dropped from 1 million to fewer than 50,000. The movie “Hoh Xil” has truly reflected that period of history.
Since the Hoh Xil Nature Reserve was established in 1995, the state has strengthened the protection of Tibetan antelopes and other wild animals under protection, and illegal poaching has been largely controlled. Since then, the number of Tibetan antelopes has risen, and so has the legend of Shahtoosh.
However, in recent years, the popularity of Kashmiri cashmere shawls for domestic consumption has led many sellers to confuse the concept of “cashmere” with “takin”. According to the article “Behind every shahtoosh scarf is a bloody history of poaching”, some Nepalese sellers first invented the concept of “takins”, saying that their cashmere is neither domesticated cashmere nor illegal Tibetan antelope cashmere, but high-quality and legal wildebeest cashmere.
But the very concept of “takins” is questionable. In view of the current efforts to protect wild animals and the fact that the Tibetan antelope can not be domesticated up to now, the real “cashmere content” of shahtoosh, which claims to be made of Tibetan antelope cashmere, naturally cannot be overestimated. In other words, even setting aside the legal risks, consumers should be more wary of the shahtoosh shawls on the market.
After more than 20 years of efforts, the Tibetan antelope is no longer endangered. But for all kinds of products in the market with the banner of Tibetan antelope, whether true or false, all sides should have enough vigilance. Is the source legitimate? Is it “hanging sheep’s head and selling dog’s meat”, or is illegal wildlife products on the rise? These should be investigated to the end. Don’t let illegal operation “fish in troubled waters”, also don’t let the guise of business “swagger”.