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    Cashmere Goat Farming Is Threatening Endangered Snow Leopards

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    Geo Beats

    by Geo Beats

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    Demand for cashmere fibers is rising and the industry is creating a problem for populations of snow leopards, and other endangered animals in central Asia.

    Demand for cashmere fibers is rising and the industry is creating a problem for populations of snow leopards, and other endangered animals in central Asia.
    Populations of cashmere goats, raised domestically for their fur, have almost tripled over the last two decades because of global demand for their wool.

    The natural habitats of snow leopards and their grass eating prey, as well as other endangered species like wild yaks, are being threatened by the increase in goat farming.

    A study from an international team of researchers found that 95 percent of forage in the Tibetan Plateau is consumed by goats and livestock, with only 5 percent left for wild animals to live on.

    Charudutt Mishra of the Snow Leopard Trust and one of the co-authors of the study, said: “Cashmere production is a complicated human issue. Indigenous herders are trying to improve their livelihoods, but the short-term economic gain is harming the local ecosystem.”

    Local cashmere goat farmers are known to retaliate for the death of a member of their herd by killing a snow leopard.