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- The sable (Martes zibellina) is a species of marten which inhabits forest environments, primarily in Russia from the Ural Mountains throughout Siberia, eastern Kazakstan, in northern Mongolia, China, North and South Korea and on HokkaidÃ…Â in Japan. Its range in the wild originally extended through European Russia to Poland and Scandinavia. It has historically been harvested for its highly valued fur, which remains a luxury good to this day. While hunting of wild animals is still common in Russia, most fur in the market is now commercially farmed. The name sable appears to be of Slavic origin and to have entered most Western European languages via the early medieval fur trade. Thus the Russian Ã‘ÂÃÂ¾ÃÂ±ÃÂ¾ÃÂ»Ã‘ÂŒ (sobol) and Polish sobÃƒÂ³l became the German Zobel, Dutch Sabel; the French zibelline Spanish cibelina, cebellina, Finnish soopeli, Portuguese zibelina and Mediaeval Latin zibellina derive from the Italian form (zibellino). The English and Medieval Latin word sabellum comes from the Old French sable or saible.