Two Chinese women held for smuggling out Shahtoosh shawls at Delhi airport

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New Delhi: Two Chinese women have been arrested by the customs officials for allegedly trying to smuggle out ‘Shahtoosh’ shawls at Delhi airport, according to an official statement issued Friday.

A Shahtoosh shawl is made from the hair of ‘Tibetan Antelope’ or ‘Chiru’ (pantholops hodgsonii) — a medium-sized bovid native to the Ladakh region and the Tibetan plateau.

The women — aged 41 years and 39 years respectively — were intercepted Thursday when they were proceeding to board a flight from Delhi to Shanghai, the statement said.

“Fifteen Shahtoosh shawls were seized by the customs officers from their checked in baggage, following which they were arrested,” it said, adding that “international trade in these products is strictly prohibited”.

The market value of the seized shawls, the statement said, is estimated to be Rs 45 lakh.

Tibetan Antelopes are accorded one of the highest levels of protection in India, as well as internationally, through relevant wildlife norms.

It is estimated that fewer than 1,50,000 mature individuals are left in the wild, having become endangered due to poaching. They are hunted for their soft and warm wool.