Throughout the course of history, the herding of domestic Bactrian camels (Camelus bactrianus) was crucial for the region where we have reintroduced Przewalski’s horses. The camel is well adapted to the desert steppe habitat; it is able to endure extremely cold winters and can adapt to a scarce water supply.  It is for these reasons that Mongolian herders domesticated this camel about 4 500 years ago and since then have made wide use of it as a means of transport along the Silk Road. Nowadays, the use of modern vehicles and the scarcity of forage (particularly the saxaul tree) is threatening camel raising, resulting in a decline of the population throughout central Asia. The implementation of a network to promote camel products including very nutritious milk, meat and wool can increase the income of the Khomyn Tal herders, providing them with the motivation to  cooperate with Takh for the reintroduction of Przewalski’s horse.

This is how the partnership came about between Takh and Brun de Vian-Tiran, a two hundred year old textile manufacturer. This family business which spans eight generations is based in Isle-sur-la Sorgue, not far from the Le Villaret and the Cevennes National Park. Using noble fabrics, they produce prestigious products such as throws, scarves, shawls and blankets made from merino wool, alpaca, llama, cashmere. They are all made entirely in France and according to the highest standards of traditional manufacturing: spinning, weaving, fulling, thistle raising of the pile.  Recognised as a Living Heritage Company, they are constantly innovating with technical inventions and an excellence partnership with France’s highest school of industrial design.  For a long time Brun de Vian-Tiran has been collaborating with shepherds on breeding techniques and in improving recognition of their work, including the recreation of a flock of merinos in the Crau (south of France) whose wool is the finest in Europe.

As the camel wool from Khomyn Tal’s camel population is exceptionally fine, Brun de Vian-Tiran initiated a partnership with Takh and the herders, aiming at sustainable development, eco-responsibility and ethical practices. The remuneration paid rewards the quality of the wool, pays logistical and technical costs, allows a fairer distribution of finances and an increase in income for the camel herders. This partnership seeks constant improvements and innovation. Jean-Louis Brun, head of the factory and a trained biologist, has introduced, in collaboration with those in charge of the project in Mongolia, a programme of genetic selection in order to obtain wool of an even greater quality in the future. This very soft camel hair allows Brun de Vian-Tiran not only to produce prestigious throws and shawls but also contributes, through a constant quest for noble fibres, to rewarding the work of the nomads of Khomyn Tal. By supporting camel herders this project also helps to diminish the large cashmere goat herds, thus directly helping  in the fight against desertification while adding value to the production of a high quality natural fibre.

 

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