ICT, Friday, February 10, 2006 08:59
The Dalai Lama, who has long been concerned with the moral and economic implications of poaching endangered animals, spoke against the use of illegal animal furs at a ceremony in south India in January. Since then, Tibetans have been burning animal skins, thus decreasing demand for animal skins and driving down profits for smugglers. Many Tibetans have also chosen not to wear illegal fur garments during traditional festivals because “the Dalai Lama said he was ‘ashamed’ to see images of Tibetans decorating themselves with skins and furs” last month, and the belief that wearing fur contradicts Buddhism is becoming more widespread.
The Dalai Lama’s concern with conservation reaches far beyond his efforts within the last month. In April of last year, he teamed up with conservation organizations Care for the Wild International and the Wildlife Trust of India to prevent the smuggling of endangered animal furs into Tibet from Nepal and India. This problem has become increasingly worse in recent years with illegal leopard and tiger pelts readily available. Enforcement against the trade of animal products protected under CITES is difficult and has been largely neglected in Tibet, which makes the recent conservation efforts of the local population extremely important.
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