Otter Pelt Market In A World Of Hurt

Friday, February 02, 2007 at 13:15



Trappers are being told to limit their Otter harvest this fur season because of market problems in China and Tibet.


The Chinese have been the main buyer of Otter pelts for the last decade, and their sales to Tibetans helped drive the price to new highs as recently as last February.


But, demand has dropped off dramatically ever since the Dalai Lama condemned the use of Otter skins.


North American Fur Auctions spokesman Dave Bewick says the Budhist leader was making reference to the endangered sea otter, not the river otter — but adds the damage has been done.


Bewick says his group is trying to find other markets, and they’ll get a sense of what kind of demand there is outside of China when they offer otter pelts in a fur sale later this month.


However, he’s expecting prices to be down as much as two-thirds of what they once were.


Bewick’s advice to trappers is to not target otters until the market for them is re-established.