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United States Adds Tibetan Antelope to Endangered Species List

[WTN-L World Tibet Network News. Published by The Canada Tibet Committee. Issue ID: 2006/03/31; March 31, 2006.]

U.S. Department of State
March 31, 2006

Listing Strengthens Protections Against Trade in Products Made From Animal

In a move to increase worldwide environmental conservation efforts, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has listed the Tibetan antelope as an endangered species under the authority of the Endangered Species Act. Both China and India have endorsed the action, according to a March 30 USFWS press release.

The Tibetan antelope has been listed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), an international treaty to which the U.S. is a signatory, since 1975. The antelope is endemic to the Tibetan Plateau of China, India and Nepal. It has suffered a dramatic population decline in the past 30 years, a decline which researchers attribute to poaching.

Although CITES prohibits the importation of Tibetan antelope and its products into the United States for commercial purposes, a strong black market persists, especially in shahtoosh shawls. Shahtoosh is a wool made from the Tibetan antelope's extremely fine underlayer of hair; shahtoosh shawls sell for thousands of dollars and are considered status symbols.

The addition of the antelope to the endangered species list strengthens protective measures by prohibiting the import, export and interstate and foreign commerce of the Tibetan antelope and its products.


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