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Chiru fast vanishing from India; only 150-200 found in Ladakh

Written by: Staff
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Srinagar, Sep 11 (UNI) Tibetan Antelope, known as Chiru, is fast vanishing from India and efforts need to be made to preserve the species with collective efforts by everybody, participants of a seminar said here.

The seminar on ''Shahtoos: Myths and Realities'' was organised by the Jammu and Kashmir chapter of the Indian Institute of Public Administration (IIPA) and New Delhi-based Wild Trust of India here.

Speaking at the seminar, state Power Minister Nawang Rigzin Jora said the present population of Chiru, only source of Shahtoos shawls, was estimated to be around 75,000 out of which only 150 to 200 were in the Ladakh region and rest in China and Mongolia.

As per a study, about 20,000 Chirus were being killed in China every year for making Shahtoos shawls.

The Minister said if the efforts were not initiated to save the species, found at the highest altitude of over 5000 mt on Earth, would be vanished completely within next 3-4 years.

In view of a ban imposed on Shahtoos in India, he said efforts should be made to strengthen and encourage the other world renowned products such as handicrafts, pashmina, carpets and paper machie.

''Alternatives need to be found for the sustenance of those who solely depend on making and selling of Shahtoos shawls,'' he added.

Mr Jora said this could be possible with serious efforts from the government as well as traders and artisan communities.

Wild Trust of India Vice Chairman Ashok Kumar said after the imposition of ban on sale of Shahtoos shawls, countries such as China, the US and India had launched a crackdown on those involved in the illegal trade.

He suggested pashmina as an alternative to Shahtoos and asserted that no nation could afford killing of innocent wildlife for the sake of pleasure and luxury.

Kashmir Chambers of Commerce and Industries (KCCI) Chairman Mobin Shah put forth the viewpoint of thousands of Kashmiri traders who were engaged in the business of shahtoos shawls and rendered jobless after the ban.

The government has to seek a permanent solution to the problems of those artisans exclusively engaged in shahtoos business.

UNI AG SBA HT1415

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