CHANGTHANG, India , Sep 5 2013 (IPS) – The famed pashmina shawl that keeps the cold away – in style and at a price – could itself have become the victim of winter. Thousands of goats whose fine wool is weaved into pashmina have perished in extreme cold being associated with climate change.
Pashmina is drawn from Changra goats found in Ladakh region of Kashmir state and a part of the Tibetan peninsula, more than 14,000 feet above sea level. The peninsula is often called the Roof of the World.
Little grows in these areas where the temperature can drop to minus 35 degrees Celsius. The local Changpa nomads live off their herds of sheep, yak and goats.
The Changthang region of the larger Tibetan Peninsula does not normally see heavy snowfall, though. That may now be changing, given the heavy snowfall earlier this year that deprived the Changpas of fodder for their animals.
“In the past five years this is the second time I have seen such heavy snowfall,” Bihkit Angmo, 53, who rears goats, told IPS outside her tent in Kharnak, a nomadic settlement 173 km east of Leh, the capital of Ladakh. “This new trend of snowfall several feet high has left us quite worried.”