Cashmere is killing the precious, endangered snow leopard. Increased demand for cashmere results in more livestock (goats) that produces cashmere, which in turn reduces the amount of wildlife upon which the snow leopard preys. This is because the cashmere producing goats feed on the same plant food source as the ungulates that are the prey of the snow leopard. There are 14 million domestic goats in Mongolia alone.
The wild mammals that are the prey of the snow leopard are also being killed by feral dogs, a consequence of poor companion animal caretaking. Also their range is being limited.
You can see the consequences immediately: less prey, less snow leopards. The additional problem with increased demand for cashmere is that there are more farmers. Farmers come into conflict with the snow leopard because they live in the same place and the snow leopard is reduced to preying on livestock. Result? The farmer shoots the snow leopard to preserve his business.
This is a classic wild cat conflict with humans. Business destroys wild cats and business is always expanding – growing because that is the economic model upon which the entire planet functions. You must have heard it: economic growth. We need growth the politicians always say.
The wild cats do not need economic growth. They need less humans and less commercialism which emanates from human population growth.
Despite the wonderful work of the Snow Leopard Trust, it is an uphill battle because at all times the human pushes out the wild cat species and many other wild species.
I hope people consider this when thinking about buying cashmere clothes.
Source: Snow Leopard Trust.