Snow Leopards and Fashion
May 26, 2015 | Sarah Freidland
Kashmir World Foundation integrates art, science and technology in our many projects that focus on improving the lives of humans and the conservation of animals. One of our projects, the DaVinci Challenge, encourages participants to design and create a drone which can be used for the protection of wildlife. In particular, drones can help locate animals which blend into their environment and are difficult to find through other means, such as the snow leopard. Snow leopards are found high in mountain ranges throughout twelve countries in central and south Asia. Due to their extreme habitat and solidarity, snow leopards are rarely seen in person. This makes it difficult to analyze their populations. Furthermore, since their coats blend into the rocky slopes of the mountains, they cannot easily be located aerially with helicopters. This is where drones come into play. Drones use heat sensing technology to capture images of this highly endangered species so conservationists can more accurately determine population density. Many factors contribute to decreased populations of snow leopards, including reduced habitat due to human land use. The most devastating, however, is poaching. These cats are hunted for their bones, an ingredient in some Chinese medicines, and their pelts, which are used to create many high end fashion garments including jackets, scarves, hats, and even rugs. Just one coat can be made of up to twelve snow leopard skins.
The demand for snow leopard pelts increased in 2014 with the influx of animal prints in the fashion industry. With big names such as Gucci and Giambattista Valli showing off models in leopard print, it’s a difficult trend to avoid. If you must take part in this style, make sure you’re aware of the endangered species list and laws that regulate the protection of these animals. Confirm that your clothes are made with ecofriendly materials and spread the word to help protect these magnificent creatures. Kashmir Rose, the art and fashion division of KwF, provides a great stepping stone for learning more about environmentally friendly fashion. All of the products are handmade by artisans from Kashmir. Made with fiber from goats, the products do not require killing of animals and support wildlife conservation. The purchase of Kashmir Rose products encourages preservation of art and developing sustainable communities.