Tradition intact, leopards protected

We regularly hear that furs used in ceremonial garb are important to the tradition of Canada. After all, they’ve been in use for over 100 years and you can’t walk away from that. Or can you?

A Zulu church is showing that you can keep tradition without taking fur from wild animals.

Due in part to the rapid decline of leopards and rising cost (and illegality of poaching) of the pelts, the men of the Shembe Church in South Africa are phasing out their real furs for faux.

“The leopard skin has got a significance because it shows power,” a spokesperson told AFP. “For the past four months now, we have been using fake skins because we are trying to bring awareness among our people.”

While the Shembe Church members still wear parts from animals such as monkeys and ostriches, it is a definitive step forward for the region, and one we hope politicians in Canada will have the will and intelligence to follow.

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Established in 1953, The Fur-Bearers is a charitable, non-partisan organization whose goals are to end the commercial fur trade and promote solutions for wildlife coexistence in communities. Your donation is tax-deductible. Charitable registration number: 130006125RR0002

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