I was horrified yesterday to see the world’s leading craft marketplace, Etsy.com complicit in selling endangered snow leopard fur. One of its sellers listed a woman’s coat advertised with “genuine real snow leopard fur” collar. I contacted Etsy immediately but they refused to take any action.
Selling snow leopard fur directly contributes towards extinction of this cat in the wild. Anyone concerned with the preservation of this species needs to take action when things like this happen.
According to the Snow Leopard Trust, “It is illegal to sell snow leopard part anywhere in the world.”
The snow leopard is listed in the Endangered Species Act of the US. Since 1975 it has been listed in CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora)
There is no doubt that the selling of endangered species fur fuels the demand which then encourages poaching. Poaching is one of the biggest risks faced by snow leopards and is the cause for the complete decimation of many species around the world.
Yesterday I contacted Etsy’s Marketplace Integrity department. Their response was “Beyond legal issues, it’s up to each member to make important ethical and moral decisions about what they choose to buy and sell on Etsy.”
Etsy is huge. They get 40 million unique visitors per month. It may or may not be that Etsy is denying its legal responsibilities. But it is certainly denying its social responsibilities. In a world where whole species are being removed by hunting for their body parts thousands of villagers, herders and international snow leopard biologists are racing against time to stop the same thing from happening to this magnificent species.
A few years ago Dalai Lama urged the Tibetan people to burn their snow leopard pelt cloaks. These were precious cultural relics but the Tibetans did so in their hundreds, to stop the trade and send a message to the world – “we want our snow leopards to live and not be something to wear on our backs for vanity.”
To the Esty seller we would like to say – this may or may not be real snow leopard fur. But the fact that you are advertising it as such and creating an aura of luxury and demand will harm this cat’s chances of long term survival.
We would like Etsy to remove the listing from its site. We would like the seller to destroy the coat. Help us convince Etsy by emailing your concern, (politely but firmly) to email@example.com and posting a comment on the Etsy Facebook page.
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