When you buy your next cashmere jumper please ask whether it is Certified Wildlife Friendly™. It is sure to produce a blank, bemused response! However, if it is and you buy it, you will be helping the beautiful and endangered Andean cat at the same time if the cashmere was sourced from northern Patagonia (in Argentina and Chile). I think it would make your cashmere jumper all the more enjoyable.
If the seller can’t confirm certification politely decline to purchase from them until they can source cashmere that is certified! Actually, I am not sure that is a great idea because I am not sure how widespread wildlife friendly products are. I sense it is a newish (but excellent) programme and therefore you may be hard pressed at the date of this post to find cashmere clothing that is wildlife friendly.
Cashmere comes from the the downy hairs of the cashmere goat. An enlightened group (cooperative) of northern Patagonian cashmere goat herders called Grupo Costa del Río Colorado have agreed to take certain wildlife-friendly steps while managing their herds and business. One of those steps is promising to not kill the Andean cat. The reward is that their cashmere is now certified wildlife friendly by Wildlife Friendly Enterprise Network.
They call it “green cashmere”. The sad thing is that when you search online for green cashmere you can imagine what comes up: cashmere that is green in color. Also I couldn’t find a shop online that sold cashmere that is Certified Wildlife Friendly™. It would be nice to know where to buy a cashmere product that contains some cashmere from the goats of Patagonia and which indirectly contributed to saving the Andean cat. Anyway despite that disappointment this is a first class effort to make business wildlife friendly. And why not? Normally business is in conflict with nature.
To be honest, I am not sure why the goat herders were killing the Andean cat in the first place. Does this wild cat, the size of a domestic cat, attack goats? Maybe they do but it seems unlikely. Perhaps the Andean cat simply frightens goats and that is enough to disrupt business.
The good thing is that the goat herders have also promised to stop killing other cats that live in the area namely Geoffroy’s cat, the pampas cat and the jaguarundi. These are all small cats.
This what I call clever cat conservation. It is good for business and good for wildlife. The goat herders don’t lose out financially and they should increase sales and profits in time due to better management and through the marketability of wildlife conservation especially these gorgeous wild cat species.
The Andean cat looks like a furrball of a tabby cat with a thick luxurious tail. It is one of the most attractive species of cat. Surely people buying cashmere will be attracted to the idea of buying a cashmere product that helps save the Andean cat at the same time. There are only about 2,000 left on the planet.