Monday, 20 January 2014

Pakistan's demand for shahtoosh shawls threatens rare Tibetan antelope

Illegal trade in Pakistan for fur described as 'king of wools' is decimating tiny remaining population

In the musty back room of the Kashmiri handicrafts store in Islamabad's main Jinnah market, the shopkeeper reaches behind the counter with the keys to open a concealed black suitcase. He retrieves half a dozen luxury shawls made from the fur of an endangered antelope, which are so fine they can be passed through a ring.

The shahtoosh shawls – the Persian word means "king of wools" – are delicate, incredibly soft and unstained. But the trade in these shawls, which appear to be new, is illegal.

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