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Blog about animals
Selected the best cow in Germany
Fishing ban proposed near Rockall after rare scientific finds
Life and death on the riverbank
Baboon shot dead after escaping from Knowsley Safari Park
Birdwatch: Peregrine falcon
Iceland's fin whales are endangered. Stop this bloody cull
The pitfalls of elderly dog insurance
Valley where Edward Carpenter, gay rights campaigner and socialist, walked
Green groups warn government of national parks hunting backlash
Demand for ivory destabilising central Africa
Dog walker found neighbour trampled by cows, inquest hears
Cat stands for election in Mexican city
I hear some hip cat's running for mayor in Mexico. That gives me an idea
Wader chick fever grips birds and spotters alike
Philippines destroys five tonnes of elephant tusks
The Dwyfor is surely one of the loveliest of Welsh rivers
New to nature No 107: Typhochlaena costae
How to beat the midges this summer
Controversial herring gull cull gets green light
Whaling's day in court is a sea change for conservation
Australia censures Japan for 'scientific' whaling
The young red deer stags were on their hind legs boxing, just like hares
Our garden's blackbirds started their nest-building early this year
UK wildlife and nature hit hard by erratic weather
  Snow leopards and wild yaks becoming 'fashion victims'
Snow leopards, wild yaks and other iconic wildlife on the world's highest mountains and great steppes are becoming "fashion victims" of the surging global trade in cashmere, new research has revealed.

Scientists found wildlife being driven to the margins of survival by the "striking but unintended consequences" of huge increases in the numbers of the goats producing the luxurious lightweight wool. The herds eat up the grass that previously supported antelopes, wild asses and their predators. Further problems were retaliatory killings of leopards and wolves by herders after livestock attacks, the killing of wild animals by herders' dogs and the transfer of disease from livestock to wild animals.

"In the absence of commitment across global and local scales, this iconic wildlife will cease to persist as they have for millennia, concluded an international team of researchers in the journal Conservation Biology. "Rather than serving as symbols of success, these species will become victims of fashion." The study showed that 95% of all the forage across the Tibetan plateau, Mongolia and northern India was consumed by goats, sheep and other livestock, leaving just 5% for wild animals.

"They are really on the margins," said one of the team, Charudutt Mishra at India's Nature Conservation Foundation and a previous winner of a prestigious Whitley award. Among the wildlife being squeezed out are the Przewalski horse, bactrian camels, Tibetan antelopes and siaga.

"But it is not an easy issue because producing cashmere does benefit local communities and economic development is essential," said Mishra. "I care about the snow leopard but I also genuinely care about those people and their livelihoods. The solution is about empowering them." Examples of small projects that have helped so far, he said, are paying bonuses for cashmere goods produced by communities that do not shoot snow leopards or poach wild animals, improvements to the corrals in which the goats live to prevent leopards killing them and vaccination of goats to prevent the spread of disease. In Pakistan, an insurance scheme for livestock has reduced retaliatory killing of snow leopards.

Mishra said there was time, though not much, to make such schemes more widespread and protect the wildlife. He said it was not difficult to persuade communities of the need for conservation: "You don't have to preach, people inherently see the value."

The UK is among the top four importers of Mongolian cashmere, a trade which has grown into a multi-billion dollar industry. In Mongolia alone, numbers of domestic goats have grown from 5 million in 1990 to almost 14 million in 2010. Ninety percent of cashmere comes from China and Mongolia.
'Wild' animals in travelling circuses benefit no one
The intoxicated world of the spotted flycatcher
Fishing quotas can be redistributed to favour smaller vessels high court
Madagascar battling worst locust plague since 1950s
A broody sparrow meets his match
Climate change is happening too quickly for species to adapt
The weird and wonderful world of the naked mole rat
Australian woman seriously injured during Spanish bull run
Spain's endangered Iberian lynx brought back from brink of extinction
One man and his sniffer dog help tackle Germany's hidden drug problem
The hotel that only takes dogs
T rex tooth found embedded in prey, restoring dinosaur's reputation
Bog cotton covers the summer Peak District moors in snow
Lifelike after death: the intricacies of a taxidermist's craft
The six-spot burnet moths complete their transformation
Research on animals in UK rises by 8% to exceed 4m procedures
Animal testing it's time to talk about it again
A pair of lithe animals are tumbling across the grass within feet of me
New to nature no 109: Anochetus hohenbergiae
England's ceremonial mayors eschew fur to support animal rights
Birdwatch: Corn bunting
Madrid declares war on plague of raccoon and parrot invaders
Snow leopards and wild yaks becoming 'fashion victims'
Horn seizure prompts rhinos warning
Threatened seabirds 'neglected' in plans for Scottish marine protected areas
Los Angeles campgrounds closed after plague-infected squirrel found
Only when I look down at the last second do I see it. I recoil instinctively
China's wine boom of little profit to giant pandas and small farmers
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Let's not martyr the white-throated needletail to the anti-wind cause
Grasshopper breeder up for design award and educating western palates
Spanish national park could lose Unesco status over illegal boreholes
Dog mauls boy at primary school in Northern Ireland
Our dog walks are punctuated by the corn bunting's jingling ringtone
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New to nature No 108: Carlia decora
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Measuring carbon age in ivory could help combat poaching, study shows
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A walk by the river triggers memories of a bygone age
Whales flee from military sonar leading to mass strandings, research shows
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Owen Paterson vows to rid England of bovine TB with badger culls
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Visitors to the Pamplona bull run have blood on their hands
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These dew ponds have been on the Downs possibly since medieval times
Australian bushman claims to have footage of legendary night parrot
Secret badger shoots pose 'a risk to public safety'
Cheshire police seize dog believed to have killed Pomeranian
Whale watching season is back - but how close is too close?
Plan to ban wild animals in travelling circuses 'goes too far'
Morrissey donates Channel 4 payout to Peta campaign against foie gras