Kashmir to destroy rare hides to protect wildlife
28 May 2007
Dachigam: Authorities in Indian Kashmir said on Monday they plan to compensate former fur dealers and collect around 850,000 garments made from the skins of rare animals in a campaign to protect the Himalayan region's wildlife. Despite poaching being illegal, rare animals are still being killed. These include snow leopards, tigers, deers, jackals and jungle cats whose furs fetch lucrative prices on the international market. But wildlife officials at Dachigam Wildlife Sanctuary - which is close to Srinagar, Kashmir's summer capital - say renewed efforts to stamp out the practice by compensating former fur dealers with cash in return for furs will curb the illegal trade. 'We are sure after destroying such a big number of animal skins and fur garments, we will be sending a strong message to poachers across the country and it will help in protection of wildlife in Kashmir,' said Rashid Y. Naqash, Dachigam's warden. Officials plan to collect the hides from around 224 former fur dealers and in return will give them a total of 940 million rupees ($23 million). Almost 60,000 skins have been collected so far and officials expect to complete the operation by July.