Recently, we were contacted about the possilbe sale of a snow leopard fur shawl online. This prompted us to look into actions you can take if you discover similar situations. Please understand that it is very important to first confirm whether the item you see is indeed snow leopard, and that we are by no means the final authority on this matter:
In 1975, snow leopards were listed in Appendix I of CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora) and in 1985 they became an Appendix-I species of the Convention of Migratory Species. Snow leopards have been accorded nation-wide legal protection in almost every range country, in some cases since the 1970s. It is illegal to sell snow leopard part anywhere in the world
Through CITES, it is also illegal to transport any snow leopard parts across international borders. Attempting to import a snow leopard hide into the USA is punishable by a fine of up to $25,000. In Nepal such trade could mean a 5-15 year jail sentence!
The following are some suggested actions to take if you have evidence of CITES violations. This list was compiled by Snow Leopard Trust staff to the best of our knowledge. Comments, additions, and changes are gladly appreciated!
If you have evidence of illegal trade in snow leopard parts, here is what you can do:
1. Contact you local CITES authorities.
There are CITES authorities in almost every nation. To see who your local authorities are, use the CITES directory here and find your country on the left hand side of the page:
Report violations to agencies listed under Management Authority and Enforcement Authority. There may be multiple agencies for you to contact. For example, in the United States, the enforcement agency is the Fish and Wildlife Service who has investigators to enforce CITES. The CITES website will give you addresses and phone numbers to call.
2. Alert the agency hosting the sale, e.g. Yahoo! Auction, eBay, etc.
eBay has the following wording on their policy page:
NOT ALLOWED: “Any part, pelt, or skin from endangered species such as cheetahs, jaguars, leopards, mountain zebras and Hartmann mountain zebras, sable antelopes, and tigers.” The snow leopard is an endangered species and so is included by this statement.
You can see eBay’s policy here:
If you find a posting for snow leopard products on eBay, you can report the violation. From what we can tell, you do not need to be a subscribed eBay member in order to file a report:
Many other sites have similar ways to report “abuses” of the rules governing online sales. For example, if you see illegal snow leopard part on a Yahoo! Auction, you should try to find a form your country’s Yahoo! Site to report abuses. For example, in the United States, you can report abuses using the “Yahoo Abuse Help Form” located here:
You should check you local Yahoo! For example, look for Yahoo Abuse Feedback Form or something similar for Yahoo! Canada, Yahoo! Japan, Yahoo! Singapore, etc. depending on your country.
eBay or Yahoo just happen to be two of the largest online communities for selling goods, but there are many other outlets. This is just a sample for how you might be able to approach online vendors. All online vendors might have different rules for reporting problems and abuses.
3. Alert other agencies:
TRAFFIC, a subsidiary of WWF, tracks illegal trade in wildlife. They have offices in Africa, Asia, North America and Europe: http://www.traffic.org/contact/
What should I do if I own snow leopard parts?
If you inherited snow leopard skins or bones, and you would like to get rid of these items without selling them illegally here are some things you can do:
1. Donate your snow leopard parts to a museum or zoo:
Natural history museums and zoos can accept donated snow leopard parts and can use them for educational purposes. If you are a zoo or museum—please make sure you have contacted you local CITES authority to check if you need any permits.
2. Donate your snow leopard parts to a conservation organization:
Although we do not solicit donations of snow leopard parts, you may check with the Snow Leopard Trust to see if we can use what you have for educational purposes. Please be advised that we may not be able to accept your donations of snow leopard parts.