Another threat to land mammals is hunting for their fur. Humans have used furs for clothing, rugs, and tents for centuries. But the senseless killing of a large number of mammals for their hides alone is a rather recent occurrence.
The Koala bear is widely prized for its valuable skin, and was hunted ever since Europeans arrived in its homeland. By 1900 its numbers had been greatly decreased everywhere outside of Queensland, Australia. In other parts of the country, it had disappeared soon after the first World War. Before then, 1-2 million skins were annually exported, attached with labels such as "beaver," "Adelaide chinchilla," "silver-gray possum," and "skunk." The state government itself gave licenses to 10,000 trappers in 1927, knowing full well the precarious position of the Koala bear. Within the next few months, over half a million Koalas were killed. The motivation for declaring open season on the animal came from votes and money. Farm workers and landholders wanted the money from Koala hunting, and the government wanted their votes for the next term.
The Snow Leopard has also been hunted for its beautiful, pale gray fur that is marked by black rosettes. Bengal Tigers and African Lions are also commonly poached for their pelts. The Caspian Tiger is a victim of habitat destruction and development of large-scale irrigation and agricultural projects. In fact, extermination squads of soldiers were even employed to remove the tigers, which were thought as threats to people and domestic livestock. The Bali Tiger has vanished. The Javan Tiger is on the extreme edge between existence and extinction. There are around 300 Siberian Tigers remaining, even though its long-haired pelt is the most valued of tiger skins. The Cheetah, also hunted for its fur, is all the more vulnerable because of its solitary lifestyle and delicate bone structure.