Srinagar : As part of the campaign to protect wildlife in Kashmir, 224 fur traders Monday surrendered animal skins before the authorities here.
Traditionally, the Kashmir fur traders have been dealing in the skins of rare and endangered wild animals like the snow leopards, brown bears, wolves, foxes, otters and pine martens, whose furs are bought by the rich as hobby and status symbol.
"Today 224 fur traders surrendered their fur stocks before us so that they are compensated as per the orders of the state high court," said Rashid Y. Naqash, the wildlife warden (central division) here.
"The government has already deposited Rs 940 million with the treasury of the honourable high court for payment of compensation to the fur traders so that they start alternate vocations," Naqash said.
The fur trade was declared illegal in 1997 and all the taxidermists, fur traders and those who possessed skins of rare animals were asked to declare their existing stocks so that an inventory could be made to ensure that no further killing of the wild animals take place either as trophy hunting or as trading practice, said Naqash who is also the member of the sub-committee to make inventories of the fur stocks.
Kashmir has historically been known as a big market for trading in the skins of wild animals.
The fur trade flourished here irrespective of the concern for wildlife preservation till 1997 when such trading was banned by the government.