With just one shahtoosh shawl costing well over $1000, its little wonder only the wealthy elite can afford such luxury.

But $1000 is a drop in the ocean compared to the devastating effects the luxury of owning a shahtoosh shawl is having on the herds of Tibetan Antelope. The true cost of these shawls is the decline of a vulnerable species in order to satisfy human vanity.

What Is A Shahtoosh Shawl?

In Persian, Shahtoosh means King of Woolsa perfect description for an ultra fine wool thats softer than either Angora, Pashmina and Cashmere.

Shahtoosh shawls are so incredibly lightweight that they can be passed through an average sized finger ring, hence their common name, Ring Shawls. The reason theyre so light is because each hair of the Tibetan Antelope is around 6 times thinner than the average human hair. Thats a very fine hair!

Each shahtoosh shawl requires about 350 grams of wool. Being as each Tibetan Antelope yields no more than 125 - 150 grams, it takes the wool of three animals to make just one shawl.

How Is The Wool Harvested?

You may be wondering why theres so much fuss about shahtoosh shawls. We take the wool of plenty of other animals, after all.

Thats true, but the Tibetan Antelope is different.

In order to collect the fine hairs, these beautiful animals have to be slaughtered. Yes, thats right. Where we sheer or comb other animals in order to harvest their wool, the hairs of the Tibetan Antelope need to be individually plucked from the skin.

Just imagine, three animals are killed for every shahtoosh shawl sold!

Shahtoosh Shawls are Illegal

Once popular amongst celebrities to either drape around their shoulders when wearing expensive ballgowns to glamorous eventsor even to swaddle their newborns inshahtoosh shawls were once the epitome of celebrity luxury.

Luckily, more and more high profile celebrities have realized that wearing a shahtoosh shawl is harmful to their reputation. Some have even joined campaigns against the sale of these shawls.

But that doesnt mean people arent still wearing them.

Even though the trade of shahtoosh is illegal in most countries, retailers continue to offer shawls in high-end boutiques throughout the world. The Internet sees its share of the trade, too.

Those inquiring about the origin of the wool are told stories of shy mountain goats that rub themselves against trees and shrubs, leaving their wool behind. Because only small amounts of wool can be harvested in this way, the price is high. If only those customers knew just how high the price is!

Of course, some do know but dont care. The human desire for luxury often gets in the way of whats right and proper. As long as people are willing to feed their selfish attitudes, the trade in shahtoosh shawls will continue... but only for as long as the Tibetan Antelope exists.

The Threat of Extinction

Poachers kill around 20,000 Tibetan Antelope every year, many of which are pregnant females moving with their flock to their preferred birthing grounds.

With fewer than 75,000 animals left, the Tibetan Antelope is facing a very real threat of extinctionfor the sake of fashion.

No matter how wealthy you are, if you buy a shahtoosh shawl youll be the reason why three of these beautiful animals lost their lives. Only a total boycott can stop this trade.

If you care about the fate of the creatures we share our planet with, report anybody found to be trading in shahtoosh. A quick call to your local police station is all it takes.

About the author :

Sharon Jacobsen is a freelance writer living in South Cheshire, England. Her area of special interest is environmental and social issues, two subjects that very often cross. However, Sharons able to write on any subject and for a competitive fee, will happily populate your website with compelling, keyword optimized articles.

To contact Sharon, please visit her website at: http://www.sharon-jacobsen.co.uk

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