The Ministry of Environment and Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has refused to allow captive breeding of Chiru (Tibetan antelope), whose underfur is used for making famous shahtoosh shawls.
The suggestion for captive breeding was made by Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science & Technology, Environment & Forests asking to consider captive breeding as it will add to livelihood of people of Kashmir.
Chiru for long time have been hunted for their underfur, which is renowned for its quality which is traditionally woven into an extremely fine fabric to make Shahtoosh shawls.
At present, Shahtoosh shawls’ sale and possession is banned in India and in many countries.
Chiru (Tibetan antelope)
Its Scientific name is Pantholops hodgsonii.
This antelope is considered to be close to goat family.
It lives at a 3,250-5,500 metre elevation in high altitude plains and montane valleys comprising of alpine and desert steppe and pasture, distinguished by low vegetation cover and productivity.
Predators such as wolf, lynx, snow leopard, and red fox are predators of chirus and their young calves.
It possesses ‘Near Threatened’ status in IUCN Red List.
It has been enlisted in Schedule I of Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
To enhance its protection, its primary habitats have been declared as Wildlife Sanctuaries viz. Karakorma Wildlife Sanctuary and Changthang Cold Desert Wildlife Sanctuary.