|GENEVA - Christmas gift buyers should avoid coral jewellery, crocodile skin and Beluga caviar if they want to enjoy a guilt-free holiday season, the nature protection group WWF said on Tuesday.|
The Swiss-based body, the World Wide Fund for Nature, included the three on a list of 10 items whose commercial exploitation was endangering animal and plant species already threatened with extinction.
Well-wishers imbued with the Santa Claus spirit should also avoid buying tiger products or tigers for pets, it said.
"All international trade of tiger products, whether used in traditional Asian medicine, as souvenirs or for good luck charms, is illegal," the WWF declared in a statement.
Ivory in any form should also be avoided, it admonished, because the ivory trade was threatening the survival of elephants whose tusks are its primary source.
Caspian Sea sturgeon, the source of Beluga caviar, face extinction due to illegal plunder and should only be bought in jars certified by CITES, the United Nation's agency fighting trade in endangered species, the WWF warned.
High fashion shahtoosh scarves woven from the hair of Tibetan antelopes should be avoided altogether. "To obtain the wool, the antelope has to be killed," the WWF said.
Many cactus species are banned from international trade. "There is a flourishing illegal trade which is wiping out native populations, particularly from Mexico," WWF warned.
Finally, the WWF advised shoppers to avoid buying appliances like televisions and stereos that consume large amounts of electricity while on standby, arguing that the drain on energy they present was another threat to the environment.
REUTERS NEWS SERVICE