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Global website Etsy colludes in advertising real snow leopard fur

Etsy listing advertising real snow leopard fur 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 integrity@etsy.com and  posting a comment on the Etsy Facebook page.

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{ 9 comments… add one }

  • Amber May 26, 2013, 12:56 am

    Dear Sibylle,

    I emailed Etsy with the address you provided, and shared an Etsy link on my Facebook page with the following message:

    Dear Etsy, I found a jacket on your site made from real snow leopard fur. I beg you to ask the seller to remove this item because snow leopards are a highly endangered species and poaching them is illegal. Selling their fur creates a demand, and in this you are supporting the killing of this rare and beautiful species. Again, I ask you to please remove this one item from your site and help preserve the snow leopard population that is left! Thank you~

    You are right that we all need to respond to large cooperate companies with multiple voices or they will never stop this kind of irreversible damage to the snow leopard population. Thank you for the notification!

  • Sibylle May 26, 2013, 3:03 am

    Thank you Amber for your efforts and a great letter to Etsy. We will lobby until they remove the item from their listing.

  • Alice May 26, 2013, 7:20 am

    Well, this is completely unacceptable. Has anyone tried contacting the seller directly? I agree that Etsy bears some responsibility here and should not be condoning such practice, but this really falls back on the seller I think, in terms of legal action. Perhaps this person is somehow unaware and it would be useful to direct them to the actual written law prohibiting the sale of snow leopard products?

  • Alice May 26, 2013, 7:50 am

    Another thing possibly worth noting: Might it be possible that if Etsy throws this listing off their site, the seller will merely take the hint not to be quite as public and will then quietly sell the item elsewhere? If it stays on Etsy until something is done about the actual item, perhaps it would get enough negative publicity to make it all worth it. Who knows.

  • Sibylle May 28, 2013, 9:17 am

    Thanks Alice, the seller has now received many emails and will be aware of the situation.

  • Sibylle May 28, 2013, 9:18 am

    Difficult to know Alice but I think the fact that it is on Etsy, such a huge global site, gives it a legitimacy that is socially irresponsible.

  • Patricia May 29, 2013, 1:03 am

    I commend you for starting this. I am an Etsy seller, and have done extensive research on selling endangered species. It is extremely frustrating to see such blatant law breaking; it is ethically wrong and illegal on many grounds:

    illegal to sell any endangered species fur (except if it is an in person exchange of money and item and both parties reside in the same state)

    Illegal to ecommerce sales and exchange monies via e commerce

    Illegal to cross state lines – federal offense to mail anywhere according to postal regulations

    I have tried to be pro-active, but to no avail. It is very very frustrating.

  • Sibylle June 12, 2013, 1:53 pm

    Thanks so much for your support and extensive research. let me know if you have any more info. This is so important. We are up to 22,000 signatures and surely Mr Chad Dickerson, Etsy CEO will take notice and act soon!
    Best, Sibylle
    Saving Snow Leopards website

  • david huber November 1, 2013, 9:28 am


    On going through my mother’s closet I came upon a snow leopard coat she was given when we lived in India during the early 1960s. What does one do with this?


    David Huber

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