Four antelopes are needed to make one of their precious wool a $ 20,000 scarf.
Shahtoosh is the most expensive and finest kind of wool, it comes from the Persian word and means "King of Wool". It is obtained from Tibetan wild antelope - chirou. Short, soft and very warm hair is a favorite material for making jokes or scarves. As it is a wild animal, it is impossible to obtain wool by haircut, but solely by killing and nourishing the animal's corpse.
An extremely rare type of antelope is stationed predominantly in the Tibetan Plateau and is targeted by poachers who further transmit its wool to Kashmir, India where artists make warm and light accessories that heat the necks of the wealthy.
Global demand for shuttlecocks has exterminated almost 90% of the Tibetan antelope population over the last century, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
The demand for shuttlecocks is the highest among Western nations, who are willing to pay up to $ 20,000 for a shawl of the right color, design and size.
The origin of the shuttles has long been unexplored and based on myths. One of the common myths was that the shuttle originated from the feathers of the Siberian goose. Another, also very widespread, is that waxes naturally repel wool by combing stones, so the locals simply collect it without hurting the animals in any way.
Although the Tibetan antelope now has exactly the same protection treatment as tigers, elephants and rhinos - as one of the poachers' favorite targets, the number of these wildlife is thought to have dropped from a few million individuals to just 75,000. Chiruses are protected by "CITES" - the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, and controls at border crossings as well as penalties for possession of shuttlecocks are quite severe.
Switzerland is at the top of the list when it comes to peat trade. The airport near the city of St. Moritz is a famous place for the illegal importation of expensive scarves and scarves. Also, in 2003, the Swiss government received information from CITES about the existence of a store in St. Moritz where hundreds of shawls were sold. The store has been relocated and it is known that an anonymous wealthy Greek family bought 60% of the stock at that time. The problem of illegal trafficking in swathes in Switzerland has not disappeared. According to National Geographic, 26 scarves were seized in Moric in 2016 alone, and border police at airports still seize this expensive material.
The shuttlecock is often mixed with pashmina, and to determine exactly what material is needed, the skills of professionals are required. The most famous is the ring test. As this wool is extremely light and thin, it is well known that wide pieces of pleats easily slip through the most ordinary ring. However, this method is not always 100% reliable either. Through the lens of the microscope, officials typically search for specific long, wrinkled hair that keeps the Tibetan suede dry in the wild. These hairs are not essential when it comes to the characteristic structure of the shatush-joke as their presence is not always mandatory in the weave, but often happens to be missed, and when this happens they are hard-to-read and obvious evidence.
In India, shuttlecock has been illegal since 1970. Nevertheless, in 2018, 35 shatut creations were seized, according to the ministry in India. This is the highest number of illicit goods since 2011, when 55 scarves and scarves were seized. Trafficking in illicit goods is thought to be far higher than known, and as shuttlecock is imported, efforts by the Government of India are aimed at strengthening training programs for Indian border services.