Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell. Edward Abbey

11 July 2006

Stats on the illegal skin trade

Fiona Mcleod is a tireless campaigner for nature. It's difficult to get people to read about the destruction of the planet. After all, you're competing with Wayne Rooney's fiance's latest outfit, TomKat and Branjolina pregnancies and the war on terrorism.

Despite the competition, Fiona manages to get published.

Her latest piece contains some gripping stats about the trade in leopard and cheetah skins, many of which are being sold to the wealthy in the northern suburbs of Joburg. The article is headlined ingeniuosly with Virgin's Richard Branson at the launch of his South African credit card, wearing a, supposedly, fake skin draped across his chest.

Here are some of those stats:
  • "A ceremonial outfit made of leopard skin, which would include an apron, headdress and armbands, fetches about R6 000."
  • "[L]eopard skins at the market are brought in from Botswana and Zimbabwe by couriers on buses. They cost between R3 500 and R4 500 after being treated."
  • "Cheetah skins, which mostly come from Namibia, cost R5 500 when treated."
Mcleod concludes with a bizarre story about a trapped 16-month old leopard cub who was being offered for a canned hunt. The captors wanted R16000 for the hunt. Thank earth the cub was released and the captors (slave owners) arrested.

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