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Black market for python skins worth $1 billion a year: Report

Published on Apr 1, 2014 10:25 PM
 
A picture of a python skin. Illegal python skins worth an estimated US$1 billion (S$ 1.3 billion) are being imported into Europe every year to feed growing demand for the luxury leather, according to a new report. -- ST FILE PHOTO: JOSEPH NAIR

PARIS (AFP) - Illegal python skins worth an estimated US$1 billion (S$1.3 billion) are being imported into Europe every year to feed growing demand for the luxury leather, according to a new report.

Nearly 500,000 skins are shipped on the black market from South-east Asia every year to grace the windows of Europe's fashion houses, particularly in France, Germany and Spain, a report by the Python Conservation Partnership found.

The rising demand from major brands like Calvin Klein and Jimmy Choo, which use the exotic patterned skin to make handbags, shoes and jackets, is depleting wild populations of the giant snake.

Instead, the report said commercial python farming, previously deemed unviable as the snakes take too long to mature and are difficult to feed and breed in captivity, could be the answer.

 
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